What Is The Significance Of Martín Barbero's Theory Of Communication And Culture?

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One of the first ways to sizing the significance of Martín-Barbero’s work and writings about communication and culture can be weighted by the epistemological twist his thinking triggered in the field of cultural studies and communication in Latin America. In short, this spin meant breaking up with the binary ways of thinking, from both Marxism and Functionalism/Administrative traditions. Secondly, the relevance of his intellectual proposal is also based upon the importance he gives to the actual people’s communication consumption, how collectively a given society makes sense of their cultural and communication practices and experiences. A third crucial area of Martín Barbero’s contribution is the focus on processes, and the particular objects …show more content…
Cultures shouldn’t be considered as something naturally essential, “beyond time and space. Any culture alive is a culture that it is continually and simultaneously integrating other cultures’ elements and being adopted for somebody else, crossed by movements coming from politics, economy, or the market” (Martín-Barbero, 1995: 17). In his first works, Martín Barbero introduced the category ‘from’. “It was a way to make explicit the strategic importance of the place of enunciation. It was like that that I also introduced the idea of thinking communication from culture , that I later expanded to thinking not ‘in’ but ‘from’ Latin America, which also implies a plurality of Latin American places” (Jesús Martín-Barbero & Herlinghaus, 2000: 144).

The gesture to allocate communication within the broad field of culture and not exclusively under the political economy frame “has and will always have a paramount value in Latin America because the cultural matrix is crucial to understand Latin American history; because Latin America is melting pot of cultural intonations where every single political project seems to be accidental. Martín Barbero understands this very well”, says Professor Carlos del Valle, coordinator of the Latin American critical theory network
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“Along years of research, I found that lo masivo (mass culture) was also another expression of lo popular (popular culture or working class culture)” (Martín-Barbero, 1995: 17). It is necessary to introduce here the nuances and fundamental differences between lo popular Martín Barbero talks about and the English idea of popular culture. As Scolari explains, “the conception of ‘popular’ culture in Latin America is completely different from the Anglo-American one. If traditional media studies in the United States homologated ‘popular’ and ‘mass’ culture (usually they are considered as synonyms), in Latin America ‘mass culture’ refers to the homogenized cultural industry –in the sense of Adorno and Horkheimer– while ‘popular culture(s)’ relates to the folkloric, pre-industrial and/or the culture of the subaltern classes from a Gramscian perspective […]. Jesús Martín Barbero proposed thinking about social identity in relation to popular culture without forgetting that popular culture has deeply modified the forms of expression of mass culture” (Scolari, 2015:

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