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Cultural Producers and Social Change in Latin America by Felipe Cala Buendía

By Felipe Cala Buendía

In Argentina, Colombia, and Peru, there was an out-pouring of popular-performative actions that experience requested electorate to pose questions on the social order and concerning the stories of modern atrocities. Cala Buendía seems to be at ways that cultural manufacturers tailored or built innovations as assets for social actors to take advantage of for switch.

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60 These two factors are intimately intertwined. And ultimately, the iconoclastic and refreshing character of Mockus’ policies can account for his own political influence and success. Almost 20 years have passed, and most citizens effectively recall cultura ciudadana as embodied in the commemorative spoons of the voluntary disarmament campaigns, the pantomimic traffic cops, the spinning pirinola, and the symbolic carrots. Indeed, the election of this academic cum politician as mayor of Bogotá marked a turning point in the city’s political life, definitively breaking the centuries-old Liberal and Conservative monopoly on the local government.

This experiment was fundamentally intended as a way to redress the way citizens interacted with each other, the authorities, and the city. It included such diverse measures as controlling the most salient risk factors for violence, namely the bearing of firearms and the consumption of alcohol; reconfiguring the institutional setting for policy formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation; and restructuring and strengthening the Metropolitan Police. These initiatives were all brought together under the rubric cultura ciudadana (culture of citizenship), a public policy package through which Mockus embraced his role as an educator, not only bringing to his administration a new style of governance, but also effecting a change in the way people understood and exercised their citizenship.

56 These are just a few examples of the many interventions that were carried out during the first Mockus administration. However, as stated above, cultura ciudadana was about more than urban security and violence, for which creativity, humor, and symbolic language also proved to be fundamental. This was the case of a participatory budgeting process in each of the city’s 20 localities, when in order to convey a message of fiscal responsibility the administration organized the whole exercise around the allocation of a series of plastic coins that had been previously distributed among the participants.

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