Cultural policies and development. An approaching from media consumption by ethnic minorities in Barcelona (2008-2009)
Media represents a symbolic and physical social sphere. As many other day-to-day relationships, media responds to certain people’s needs and takes a particular form in each social context, which determines its characteristics and the role it plays in people’s lives. The significance of the social functions of media continues to increase, among other reasons because of the cultural conflicts in urban space, which often raises concern among governments and other key social actors. As Néstor Garcia Canclini (1995) states, consumption’s essential function is its capacity for giving meaning to the reality: Consumers shape an intelligible universe from the products they choose. Studying the uses and consumption of cultural goods allows understanding part of the main ingredients in the symbolic universe’s construction, which nourishes personal identity and the sense of belonging to a group or a territory. In this sense, cultural policy, understood as the skill to work with the symbolic world of a community, can improve its diversity and social cohesion. Consequently, this improves also its social and relational capital, being itself a development tool (Rausell, 2007: 41). This PhD project aims to shed light on this matter departing from ethnic media consumption and uses to focus on cultural, media and development policies in Spain. I also intend to analyse social functions derived from the cultural consumption (the virtual and physical contact between immigrant and local community; the building of intercultural/multicultural networks; integration/exclusion; the relation with physical spaces, etc.) as well as the stimuli and barriers that are conditioning media consumption (economy, language, gender, education, values, etc.) Through the description of the migrants’ media uses and conditionings, it is also intended to identify local and transnational communicative networks. Finally, the thesis will explore the role of cultural communication consumption within the framework of the policies of cultural consumption and immigration in Catalonia and Barcelona (2008–2009) within the framework of Spanish national guidelines. Specifically, I will be paying attention to the sensitivities and the ways how communication and cultural policies respond to the communicative phenomena of foreign population groups. It is also intended to understand how new publics are the receivers of communication, culture and development policies and how they can re-appropriate them and make alternative consumption circuits.