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Cultural Industries and Regional Integration

By Federico Mazzella ,
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An analysis promoted by ALADI seeks to identify the impact of the creative industries on regional integration

The publication “The Cultural Industries as Tools for Latin American Integration (link in Spanish)” is a collection of the presentations from the symposium by the same name that took place at the Conference on Cinema, Culture, and Latin American Integration between May 15 and

23, 2015.

The publication seeks to identify the importance and potential impact that the creative industries could have on regional integration, in line with the INTALENT competition that INTAL has launched with the MIT Technology Review.

The text has two main objectives: identifying the right path to help build stronger Latin American cultural industries, and finding a way to articulate with Latin America’s integration organizations.

 

It argues that we need to distinguish between two aspects of the cultural sphere. The first—and most important—of these has to do with belonging, the construction of meaning, and Latin American identity. The introduction to the publication argues that culture is fundamental to the construction of a sense of identity, so much so that until around 1960–1970, Latin American integration was essentially a political/cultural undertaking: the continent was then still very varied and asymmetrical, and it seemed that culture was the only front where progress towards integration could be made.

 

The cultural industries are increasingly influential within the global economy. Indeed, in the United States, they rank third or fourth in terms of revenue. They play an extremely important role in the productive matrix of certain countries.

 

“Paradoxically, the growth of the cultural industries has meant that the importance of other key industries, such as publishing, has faded. Publishing has become transnational and is highly concentrated. This transnationalization process has affected business, meanings, and circulation, and compensating for it through national strategies is proving very complex,” the report argues.

 

The cultural industries are closely tied to globalization, which means that they have been impacted significantly by the entertainment industry, the internet, satellite communication, digital communication, and the technological revolution.

 

In relation to the second issue the text examines, the difficulty of articulating regional cultural initiatives, certain interesting experiences are worth highlighting. IBERMEDIA is an initiative between Spain and Portugal which includes the Spanish-speaking population in the United States and Latin American audiences, which together constitute 700 million people, an extraordinarily large market.

 

Finally, the collection underlines the fact that regional integration organizations can contribute to this development strategy for the cultural industries by adding value to them and assessing the viability and short-term impact of generating conferences or roundtables for Latin America’s cultural industries.

 

“Complementarity is essential in these industries, as are partnerships, coproductions, reciprocal knowledge, and exchanges,” the text claims.

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