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Thursday, 05 January 2012 20:34

Cultural Heritage: the Makers and Writers of Tradition

Published in Popular culture Written by Luciana Lang
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It is not enough to produce culture; modern society requires that the process should be recorded. People have always been concerned with the writing down of traditions, prior to Modernity, but reminding people of collective traditions became particularly important with the emergence of the nation-state. The political scientist Benedict Anderson suggests that ‘nation-ness’ is the most universally legitimate value in the political life of our time, hence the importance of deploying strategies to construct such an artefact.

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It is an opinion widely held that mass-consumerism is eradicating difference across the globe in the interests of big business. This is a gross simplification—a closer look at one of the most visible global brands reveals how consumerism brings homogeneity, but also propagates difference in inequality.

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One only has to take a look at what is available under Green Shopping in the ‘Environment’ section of The Guardian - solar powered coasters, ecobuttons for PCs and clay pots to help street children in India - to realize that there is more to a ‘Green Economy’ than just a commitment to leave behind the compulsive behavior towards consumption bestowed upon us all by capitalism.

Sunday, 07 August 2011 10:33

Doubting Thomas and the Wanderer in the Tropics

Published in Popular culture Written by Luciana Lang
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South America is home to a legend which, though little known by the wider public, has captivated sociologists, anthropologists, folklorists and journalists, as well as a number of websites concerned with promoting tourism in Uruguay, Paraguay and in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. 

Thursday, 12 May 2011 18:57

Mexico’s floating gardens

Published in Popular culture Written by Lucy Popescu
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Xochimilco was originally a lake, an offshoot of Lago de Texcoco, upon which Mexico City is so precariously situated today. It was home to some of the most fertile gardens in the region, known as chinampas – these were islands artificially constructed out of piles of silt and rotten vegetable matter.

 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011 19:09

Histories of the Small Voices

Published in Popular culture Written by Luciana Lang
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The Latin American Subaltern Studies Group was initiated in 1992 by a small number of scholars mostly from literature and cultural studies backgrounds, prompted by the dismantling of authoritarian regimes in Latin America and subsequent processes of redemocratization.

 

Sunday, 13 March 2011 20:56

Tupi or not to be

Published in Popular culture Written by Luciana Lang
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At least ever since Edward Said wrote Orientalism (1978), it has come to be commonly accepted that texts can create knowledge and that, over time, this knowledge produces discourses. Culture works through consent and this author suggests that European culture produced the Orient, through the accounts of travellers and colonizers, and through literature, by penetrating people’s imaginations with a certain representation of the oriental.

 

Sunday, 13 March 2011 20:28

Cholula’s pyramid and Papantla’s voladores

Published in Popular culture Written by Lucy Popescu
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Near the colonial city of Puebla, and just 2 hours outside Mexico City, this sleepy town claims the largest pyramid in the world in total volume (it’s squat but with a base of 450x450m). Founded in 500 BC, the local guide also claims that it is “the oldest living city in America”.