Brazilian cultural identity: Multicultural, melting pot, diversity?
Cultural policies and cultural politics in Lula’s government
Néli Alves Pereira August, 2005.
When Lula won the presidential elections and Gilberto Gil took charge of the Ministry of Culture in Brazil in 2003, his aspiration was to reposition the Ministry amongst the main offices in the State, granting culture with a leading role in the actions of the federal government. This attempt to adjust the position of culture within the Brazilian State, involved not only a major reform in the internal structure of the Ministry but also on a larger scale, rearticulating the cultural office with other federal institutions. This effort is in tune with the current debates about the role of culture on a globalized context and also an attempt to reposition the Brazilian State under a scenario often characterized by a strong crisis of legitimacy.
The research proposed by this dissertation focuses on the cultural policies and politics formulated under the present Ministry of Culture in Brazil to support those reforms. The study proposes a diagnosis of the current thoughts and actions implemented by the State, identifying the key elements raised by the combination of those efforts. The analysis situates the issue of diversity at the centre of the discussion due to its increasing role on the discourse of the State in Brazil and especially because of the great importance given to this subject by the present Ministry of Culture.
The first chapter traces historically the relation between State and culture in Brazil since 1930, when the first attempts to introduce culture on the federal government were made. The analysis aims to identify continuities and ruptures in the process, recognizing the concept of national identity sought by different governments and the elements privileged in each one. The section also locates Lula’s government in a broader scope, setting parameters for the analysis of the following chapters. On the second chapter, I will describe and analyze the cultural politics of the present Ministry of Culture, focusing on the two considered the most relevant: the plan entitled Sistema Nacional de Cultura (SNC) and the politics of “Identity and Diversity”, a set of efforts aimed to consolidate the concepts of culture, identity and diversity proposed by the MinC in tune with the world debate, and in particular with the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity launched by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2001. This section will then evaluate whether those concepts represent a shift with previous attempts and how they frame and orient the policies of the State.
The third chapter moves the theory analyzed through the politics into practice, concentrating on the cultural policies implemented by the Secretariat of Identity and Cultural Diversity and on the project entitled Pontos de Cultura, part of the program Cultura Viva. I will argue that some of the main elements conceptualized by the politics are coherent with the policies but that the effectiveness of the actions depends on the continuity of the new elements introduced by the Ministry.
I conclude by affirming that although diversity is at the centre of the debate for the present Ministry in Brazil, its greater contribution to the history of the relation between State and culture in the country is the protagonist role that culture has acquired on the federal government. I will also establish that the results of the actions being taken by the current administration cannot yet be fully assessed since the aftermath is strongly related to the continuity of the propositions.
Literature Review, Methodology and Limitations
The debate about the relation between the Brazilian State and the cultural arena are fairly recent. The first Ministry of Culture was created in Brazil only twenty years ago and the first attempts to incorporate culture into the governmental public policies were made in the 1930s under Getúlio Vargas. Investigations about this relation are in its majority focused on the decade of 1930s and 1960s, periods when Brazil was under authoritarian regimes, (the former a dictatorship and the latter a military government); many authors tackle the legacy of those years and try to explain the combination of actions used by those regimes to guarantee legitimacy via culture. Antonio Candido, Randall Johnson and Daryle Williams are among important intellectuals in Brazil and abroad that have dedicated their efforts to analyze the cultural politics and policies of these periods.
Many of the investigations that did not embraced specific periods in the history of the relation between State and Culture, were drawn to the analysis of particular groups or documents which contributed with improvements to this relation; the Instituto de Estudos Superiores Brasileiros (ISEB), the Política Nacional de Cultura (PNC), the Centros Populares de Cultura (CPC) are amidst some of the most studied by academics. A great majority of the studies about the cultural policies in Brazil focus on specific actions towards issues of race, patrimony and the role of popular culture. In all of them it is evident the belief that it is the vision of the State that prevails on the construction of the national identity and consciousness. Another aspect that has also been broadly discussed is the relation between the State and the intellectuals. Their role was particularly of interest for Sérgio Miceli who wrote an entire book about the characteristics of this relation between 1920 and 1945, but other authors like Lucia Lippi and Daniel Pécaut had analyzed the contribution of the intellectuals as well.
Also influent on the debate about this matter are the investigations which consider the State as the provider (mecenas); in this perspective, studies are focused on the 1980s and 1990s when the National Incentive Laws for culture were the most important, if not the only, federal intervention in the cultural arena.
This dissertation, unlike many of the investigations about the relation between State and culture in Brazil since 1980s will not focus on the incentive laws, but rather its analysis will be concentrated on the current policies and politics, locating at the centre of the discussion the conception of diversity, national and cultural identity formulated by the Ministry of Culture. What the research proposes is to distinguish the elements introduced by the government to this debate and where do they situate in the history of the relation between State and Culture in Brazil.
The research will focus on the official documents and discourses made available to the public by the Ministry of Culture website. The investigation will be based on articles involving the issue of national/cultural identity and diversity released by the Secretariat of Identity and Cultural Diversity (SID) and the Secretariat of Cultural Politics, as well as speeches of the Minister and the Secretaries. The analysis of the discourses will serve to identify which elements of the politics and policies are being highlighted by the members of the Ministry during their public appearances.
The theoretical framework for the research will be based on a bibliographical research about the main issues discussed throughout the dissertation, which involves the role of the State, national identity, cultural policy theory, cultural politics, multiculturalism, cultural hybridism, and the history of the relation between State and Culture in Brazil. Regarding cultural identity I have tried to focus the literature on the postmodern approach to culture and identity, since this view is coherent with the current politics and policies adopted by the Ministry in Brazil. Therefore, the definitions proposed by the work of Stuart Hall will be used as a reference. According to him, identity cannot be considered as an essence affirming that “the unified, complete, secure and coherent identity is a fantasy”. Hall establishes that the postmodern individual does not have a static identity, but appropriates a variety of different ones. The conceptions of UNESCO will also form an important part of the theoretical framework because of its explicit relation with the current Ministry’s ideas.
The concept of national identity employed in this research follows the modernist approach to nationalism. For the modernists, nations and nationalism is a product of the State, a necessary creation for legitimating its power and a direct consequence of the “need for growth”. The analysis of this statement can be found in different modernist’s works, such as Gellner and the nation-building or in Eric Hobsbawn’s idea of “invented tradition”. Hobsbawn’s analysis about the role of state in creating traditions is especially important to this research since different governments appropriate and reinforces distinct traditions in its discourses; the goal here is to identify which ones are being considered by the present MinC in Brazil. Another concept embraced by the research is Benedict Anderson’s “imagined community”. According to him,
“(the nation) is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.”
Alongside with Anderson’s formulation, the statement that “all modern nations are hybrid cultures” confirmed by Hall also form the basis for the analysis of national and cultural identity.
Also important to establish is the concept of cultural policies and politics considered by the investigation. According to UNESCO, cultural policies can be interpreted as:
“a body of operational principles, administrative and budgetary practices and procedures which provide a basis for the cultural action by the State.”
However simplified, this concept has been constantly reevaluated by UNESCO due to shifts on the conception of culture related with diversity and development. Some of those efforts can be found in the document Our Creative Diversity, launched in 1995 and also in the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, released in 2001. According to Toby Miller and George Yúdice, “national cultural policies are a privileged terrain of hegemony.” Regarding cultural politics, this research has used as a reference the conception formulated by Chris Weldon and Glenn Jordan:
“Cultural politics fundamentally determine the meanings of social practices and, moreover, which groups and individuals have the power to define these meanings. Cultural politics are also concerned with subjectivity and identity, since culture plays a central role in constituting our sense of ourselves.”
This concept embraces the key elements of the discussion proposed by this research. Having established the concepts, it is important to acknowledge that the cultural politics are considered here as the plan, the set of rules and articulations which will serve as the framework to orient the State’s actions towards culture; the combination of those actions forms the policies. In this paper, politics are referred as the rhetorical level, the level of planning while policies are considered the application of those theories and concepts in the State’s action.
Some of the limitations of this work regard its framework; the focus of the research is the relation between State and culture in Brazil, therefore, only documents, manifestations, concerns and discourses regarding national/cultural identity in Brazil related to the State are taken under consideration; it is clear that many important debates about this matter can be found outside the State apparatus and ideology; manifestations such as the Modernist Movement, the Regionalist Manifest, the Centro Popular de Cultura (CPC), and many other intellectual expressions could take part in a further project of research – here, the focus is on the State and its policies and politics within the Ministry of Culture. Partnerships and combined efforts between the MinC and other ministries and federal institutions will be accounted but not deeply analyzed because of the limitation of time and space. It is also among the limitations of this research an analysis about the Tropicália, the cultural movement in which Gilberto Gil participated as one of the mentors. The movement has been left aside because of the framing established by the case study.
It also important to emphasize that unlike many investigations about the actions of the State towards culture in Brazil during the 1990s and also nowadays, this research does not seek to analyze the budget for the Ministry of Culture and the destination of its investments in culture because of the lack of data and information available on this topic.
75 years of Brazilian identity: ruptures and continuities in the relation between culture and State
“The existence of a nation (pardon this metaphor!) is an everyday plebiscite.”
This chapter traces historically the role of the State in process of elaboration (and invention) of a national identity in Brazil. By doing so, it aims to identify the conception of cultural identity formulated by each government in order to assess the continuities and ruptures in this process and locate Lula’s cultural policies and politics, analyzed in the following chapters, within a broader scope. Only by doing this does it become possible to address the question of diversity as a form of discourse and national consensus as proposed by the Ministry. The historical approach privileges moments in the course of Brazilian history in which issues of national identity were being discussed within the government.
In the conception of many authors, the relation between state and culture in Brazil was born during the Vargas era. He inaugurated the first cultural institutions in the country and held a strong discourse about creating a unique Brazil, without contradictions and heterogeneity – “an imagined community” that could be felt and shared by each Brazilian. It is patent that his attitude was strongly related to his political ideology of power centralization and that culture was only another arena to be appropriated by the State to guarantee legitimacy. His government realized that “managing culture would be a powerful weapon in managing Brazilianess.”
This campaign of Brasilidade became Vargas’s project to Brazilian cultural identity. To guarantee acceptance and to forge national consensus, Vargas’s government appropriated popular culture and transformed the local and the regional into the national. Manifestations such as samba, football and the carnival were transformed into national symbols to better suit the purposes of the State. As well as popular culture, the regime also appropriated the past to create the nation’s narrative. As far as Vargas was concerned, a modern state should be rooted in the past; a well selective and excluding past.
The nation was finally invented – at the expense of its heterogeneity, diversity, racial and class based conflicts, Vargas created the first State ideology about Brazilian identity: a homogeneous surface which conceded many contradictions. Brazilian people were joyful, living in a racial democracy, blessed with a heroic past, with no distinction between poor and rich. Since this period, the gap between what was intended and the reality of the country is evident.
Although the focus of a majority of researches about the relation between State and culture in Brazil does not contemplate the years between Vargas’s fall until when the military took power and culture became once again an important arena for legitimacy in 1964, this paper will consider them to argue that a rupture can be found, especially in the perception of culture within the government.
During the 1950s, when Juscelino Kubistchek was the president, a group of paulistas intellectuals gathered to create de Instituto Superior de Estudos Brasileiros (ISEB), an institution linked to the Ministry of Education responsible for an important contribution to the perception of culture in Brazil: previously considered an important requisite for progress, especially during the Vargas period, the intellectuals of ISEB updated the relation; aware of the reports launched by CEPAL , the group invoked culture as a factor for development. This is an important shift if one bears in mind that this is a still valid concept, integrated in Lula’s public policies as well as an important part of UNESCO’s reports and present researches.
When the military took power in Brazil in 1964, General Castello Branco did what Vargas was used to: it appropriated culture in order to guarantee State legitimacy. This pattern lasted until the end of the regime in 1984. The first military government pioneered the introduction of a rationalized plan to guide the State’s interventions in culture. Despite the contradictory role of the State during this period, acting both to promote and control cultural manifestations, the creation of the Conselho Federal de Cultura (CFC) in 1966 can be considered a starting point for many of the actions that followed. We shall dedicate more attention to the action of this institution to understand its significant influence for the policies and politics created within other military governments and especially for the present the ones formulated in Lula’s Ministry of Culture.
The ideology of the CFC embodied the conception of a Brasil Mestiço, a mixed country. Ortiz analyses this argument affirming that although the conception of mestiçagem was considered earlier (especially during the 1930s), the CFC introduced a new element to it: the aspect of heterogeneity.
“Quando os membros do CFC afirmam que a cultura brasileira é plural e variada, isto é, que o Brasil constitui um ‘continente arquipélago’, o que se procura é sublinhar o aspecto da diversidade.”
This statement is important for this paper for two reasons. First of all, because it is the first time that diversity is introduced into the discourse and practices of the State. The second reason is the significant shift in the awareness of heterogeneity. Previously, the lack of homogeneity was seen as a threat to unity as sought by the government; it was an obstacle to the project of a united, centralized, modern Brazil. The members of the CFC came to understand that the unity was still possible within diversity. Although this shift was important, it should not lead us to think that it represented a complete acceptance of Brazilian reality; it is, therefore, important to bear in mind that the regime was not yet democratic and that its discourse was responsible for gathering people into its own project of a nation. The ideology of heterogeneity proposed by the members of the CFC was a paradox one: unity within diversity.
Another main point about the CFC was its conception of Brazilian culture and the role of the State in the cultural arena. For its members, culture was directly related to tradition; folklore, patrimony, museums are all elements that add to the broader aspect of an organically and historically diverse culture. In this perspective, diversity as a Brazilian cultural tradition had to be preserved because it characterized the Brazilian identity – the State should, therefore defend it from the influence of cultural industry and foreign ideas propagated through the same industry- ideas that were considered harmful for the ideology of the regime. The military inserts culture as another element to be secured by the State, along with its actions towards National Security.
“O Estado, assumindo o argumento da unidade na diversidade, torna-se brasileiro e nacional, ele ocupa uma posição de neutralidade, e sua função é simplesmente salvaguardar uma identidade que se encontra definida pela história.”
The conception of culture as tradition suits well the contradiction of the military State, which moved away from the centre of the debate the controlling actions taken towards culture by censorship and remained able to make use of the cultural arena for its own benefit. The ideology of the CFC continued to be an important institution throughout the military presence influencing policies and conceptions especially during 1974 and 1979, when the document Política Nacional de Cultura (National Cultural Politics) was formulated. In the next chapter, when the national cultural politics in Lula’s government, under the Minister Gilberto Gil are analyzed, the influence is evident again. Given a different and much more liberal scenario, the politics of diversity within unity will arise again, under the name of “cultural diversity and identity”; a new name for an old practice in the Brazilian State.
The next important government to be analyzed in this chapter is the General Geisel period, when Ney Braga took over the Ministry of Education and Culture. This was an important time for the relation of the State with culture because of a document entitled Política Nacional de Cultura (PNC), which consisted of a framework for the State’s action towards culture, intended to add more cohesion to the policies and also to the national discourse and politics of culture. According to Parreira, the PNC represented the first attempt to establish cultural politics in the Brazilian State.
“É, pois, com Ney Braga que surge uma política. Antes houve planos. Os objetivos agora são claros: a cultura se liga à identidade nacional e à preservação de valores.”
The conception of culture stated in the document continues to be essentialist in character with the introduction of a few new elements; it is the role of the State that is reformulated in order to introduce the aspect of fomentation and not only preservation. A fragment of the text is illuminating to understand the new idea:
“Deseja-se preservar a identidade e originalidade [da cultura] fundadas nos genuínos valores histórico-sociais e espirituais, donde decorre a feição peculiar do homem brasileiro. (…) A sobrevivência de uma nação se enraíza na continuidade cultural.”
The fragment clarifies that one of the new elements added to the conception of culture is continuity. Even if the PNC still values patrimony and its preservation, it also demonstrates a concern about the future of the cultural process. Unlike before, the PNC includes in its proposal the continuation of the past, a preservation of the “essence” that would be accomplished by fomenting the creativity, but within a given framework. Moreover, the ideology is “to conserve culture”; a measure that both prevented changes and assured continuity.
The political opening and the antistatist agenda (1985- 2002)
The next administration coincided with the beginning of a period known as the “political opening” in Brazilian history. The first civilian president had been elected after 21 years of militarism. In his first year in presidency José Sarney (who took over after the death of Tancredo Neves) created the first Ministry of Culture in Brazil. During his administration, from 1985 to 1990 three ministers took charge of the institution and were responsible for the formulation of a law that changed the role of the State in the cultural field for the following decades. The Lei Sarney was created to fund cultural projects in a partnership with the private sector based on tax incentive. It was also with Sarney that the first official concept of culture was included on the Constitution, in 1988.
Among the shifts that can be highlighted in the constitutional text, a major change is the conception of patrimony. As a legacy of the Vargas’s regime, patrimony was related to monuments, building and historical sites; the Constitution of 1988 incorporated the diversity of the groups and spontaneity of the cultural process into the previous concept; from pedra e cal (lime and stone), the comprehension of patrimony included also forms of expression. Also present in the constitutional text is the aspect of diversity, which is conceived as a tradition that should be protected by the State.
From this brief analysis it is possible to affirm that the representation of “the nation and its people” obtains broader perspective, probably due to the relevance of groups such as blacks and Indians that became more evident after the fall of the military regime. It can also be suggested that in spite of the fact that the concept of patrimony was broadened, diversity remained as an aspect to be preserved. The rupture made by Sarney’s period in the cultural arena can be traced in the intensification of partnership with the private sector promoted by the Sarney Law; the conception of culture changed because it was targeted to the market. Nevertheless, the aspect of diversity remained as an element to be preserved not stimulated.
The following government did not carry on with the developments on the actions of the State towards culture. On the contrary, when Fernando Collor de Melo assumed in 1990, he automatically extinguished the Ministry of Culture along side with other important cultural institutions such as FUNARTE. The cultural field was managed by a Secretariat and the incentives for culture relegated to an update of the Sarney Law entitled the Rouanet Law. The “antistatist agenda” adopted by Collor affected culture enormously, redirecting it to the market and to the private sector and diminishing the role and intervention of the State in this field.
Once again it is important to contextualize the actions. During the dictatorship and the military regime, State made use of culture to guarantee its legitimacy and specially to legitimize its controlling character. In 1990’s the political sphere is looking further to guarantee its position in a globalized, free market scenario, therefore, the State relegated culture to the laws of the market. To transform citizens into consumers, in an expression by Garcia Canclini, was part of the new agenda proposed by the government through its actions in economy and foreign relations. Brazilian identity during this time was linked with consumerism – “you are what you consume”. 
Some aspects of this agenda were kept until Lula’s election in 2002. The Ministry of Culture was reestablished in 1992 during Itamar Franco presidency. The administration of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who took charge in 2005, was responsible for the slogan “Culture is a good business” – the legacy of Collor’s era was evident as an element of continuity.
“Essa idéia de que mercado e cultura devem caminhar juntos, veio a ditar a política cultural de FHC.”
The neoliberal measures adopted by FHC made decentralization grow even stronger and it affected the cultural field. In spite of the actions of his Minister of Culture Franciso Weffort, State’s actions towards culture were concentrated in the Rouanet Law. Globalization and its impacts begun to be incorporated in some of the policies, such as the Encontros Nacionais de Cultura, created to overcome the strong influence of the globalized contents broadcasted by the cultural industry. Another measure was the promotion of Brazilian culture abroad; an attempt to guarantee the survival of cultural differences and preserve an image of Brazil. Although diversity was not included in any specific politic for culture during FHC, it is possible to identify a primary concern about the survival or rescue of some Brazil’s cultural aspects threatened by the global forces. According to Costello, Fernando Henrique’s second administration (1999-2002) invested R$1,5 mi (approximately 400.000 pounds) to promote Brazilian culture abroad :
“Era uma tentativa de reação nacionalista ao predomínio avassalador do cinema norte-americano no mercado brasileiro. Punha em grave risco o princípio da diversidade cultural – e, ainda, da própria noção de democracia”.
The first attempts to promote diversity in a complex global scenario were drawn during the FHC era. The election of Lula represents a resumption of this debate which relates to the historical transformations that the conception had faced throughout the Brazilian history and that were analyzed in this chapter. Although major shifts were highlighted, in 75 years since the beginning of the relation between the Brazilian State and cultural identity, continuity is a relevant aspect. The conception of identity remained most the same since Vargas – the ideology of the mixed race, resumed by the CFC, prevailed, with transformations such as the consideration of its heterogeneous character. Diversity, on other hand, from a threat was transformed into the symbol of the Brazilian people and nation. Yet, its place in culture persisted as an element to be protected; State did not reinforce its fomentation as a vivid component of the Brazilian identity. Popular culture, on other hand, was an element to foment, since its survival could guarantee preservation of the cultural tradition in Brazil. Two main aspects can be identified as elements of continuity on the national identity discourse: the harmonious society, free of contradictions; and the preservation of tradition. The cultural arena proved to be a valuable tool to implement some of the State’s ideologies, but its role remained secondary throughout the process.
Next chapter will focus on the cultural politics of Lula’s government and the main ideas about identity and diversity promoted and propagated through discourses and official documents. By doing so, it will be possible to evaluate whether his position represents a rupture or a continuity in the historical process this research has analyzed so far. Next section will also identify how Brazilian identity is being “invented” or reinvented by the present Ministry of Culture in Brazil and if the aspiration to reposition culture within the State is present on the guidelines proposed by its politics.
Reinventing Cultural Politics– Brazilian Ministry of Culture in tune with the world debate
“Temos de completar a invenção da nação”.
In a discourse about the aftermath of his first year in charge of the Ministry of Culture in 2003, Gilberto Gil stated that the first challenge he faced when he accepted the post was to apply a new concept of culture into the State. He said:
“Era preciso abarcar a vida cultural brasileira, simultaneamente, em sua unidade e en sua multiplicidade. Em suas variações regionais, seus traços distintivos internos, e suas diferentes colorações sociais, em sua vasta gama de formas e de sentidos”. 
The elements cited by Gil in this brief fragment represent the main ideas taken into account in the elaboration of the present cultural politics in Brazil: diversity, integration, social inclusion and decentralization. These elements will be considered as the main basis for the analysis on this chapter, which aims to identify the cultural politics that are being formulated in Brazil seeking to relate the present ideas with previous attempts.
The analysis is based on two different types of sources, both available on the Ministry of Culture Website. The first are official articles about the politics of the government concentrated on two main ones: the Sistema Nacional de Cultura and the aspect of “Identity and Diversity”. The second are speeches about those politics given by the Minister Gilberto Gil and the Secretariats of Cultural Politics – Sérgio Sá Leitão and Identity and Diversity – Sérgio Mamberti. The analysis of the speeches will clarify what aspects of the politics are being highlighted by the members of the Ministry.
Sistema Nacional de Cultura (SNC): between politics and policies
When Gilberto Gil took charge of the office, Brazilian cultural politics were concentrated on incentive laws and preservation of patrimony. Culture, as usual, was not among the main sectors where the government concentrated its efforts. But Gil, following his main aspiration, tried to reposition culture within the State, giving to the office a protagonist role. To accomplish the task, the Minister employed a relation inaugurated by the members of the Conselho Federal de Cultura (CFC): culture as a requisite for development. He attributed to culture three different dimensions: “simbolic, in terms of identity and diversity; political, in terms of citizenship and access; and economic, in terms of creating new jobs, incomes and boundaries”. Accordingly, culture should be considered a basic need and the State should guarantee “a inclusão da cultura na cesta básica dos brasileiros”. In order to achieve that, the State was forced to reorganize its actions towards culture.
The structural reform came as new project entitled Sistema Nacional de Cultura (SNC), included as one of the provisions of the strategy plan Imaginação a Serviço do Brasil – Programas de Política Pública de Cultura, released in October, 2002 by Lula’s party PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) as part of the presidential platform. The SNC is an articulation to involve the local, regional and national spheres in the formulation and implementation of cultural policies. Described by the government as a “corporate process of articulation, management and promotion, which aims to formulate and implement public policies, democratic and permanent, convened by the federation members and civil society for the promotion of social development and full exercise of cultural rights and access to the sources of national culture” – the document is first of all a plan of action.
Among the measures proposed by the SNC, decentralization is a paramount. The plan guarantees the participation of all levels of the federation (state, borough, and city) in the creation of the cultural policies, enabling the expression of different communities and realities. The contribution of the civil society and of the private sector is also granted in the SNC, reinforcing its attempt to decentralize the formulation of the politics, broadening the level of participation. Social inclusion and a larger access to culture are inherent to the guidelines proposed by the plan. Those elements can be found in the document in its sections articulation and management, which are followed by two others: information and promotion, where aspects such as a broader circulation of cultural projects and the transversal facet of the cultural process are granted.
The implementation of the SNC is still on the way and its effectiveness will surely depend on the continuity of the actions proposed by it. In 2005 the government begun the signature of the protocols with some Brazilian states and boroughs; also, one of the elements of the SNC, the Plano Nacional de Cultura was approved as a constitutional amendment in August10th, 2005. The plan adds a third paragraph to the Article 215 in the Constitution, stating:
- 3º – A lei estabelecerá o Plano Nacional de Cultura, de duração plurianual, visando ao desenvolvimento cultural do país e à integração das ações do Poder Público:
I-defesa e valorização do patrimônio cultural brasileiro;
II-produção, promoção e difusão de bens culturais;
III- formação de pessoal qualificado para a gestão da cultura em suas múltiplas dimensões;
IV- democratização do acesso aos bens de cultura; e
V- valorização da diversidade étnica regional.
The analysis of the concepts proposed by the SNC suggests that both continuity and rupture can be identified by relating its propositions with previous attempts. Social inclusion has been an element of cultural politics previously in Brazil, but under authoritarian governments which used it as a mean to control the society. Decentralization can also be identified earlier, especially during the 1990s with FHC and Collor, but the measures proposed by the SNC do not seek to withdraw the responsibility of the State towards culture, but to spread it into all levels of federation and society.
The innovation brought by the SNC appears to focus on the level of structure, repositioning the State in the process. In this perspective, is possible to acknowledge that although some elements of the present cultural politics had been used before, the Ministry of Culture in Lula’s presidency is revisiting these concepts and locating it in a new scenario: a new Brazil, a new Brazilian identity. But what is the identity being elaborated by the politics?
Politics of Diversity: a dialogue between Brazil and the world
The reform proposed by the Brazilian Minister of Culture in 2003 also involved a reformulation of the structure of the office and its institutions. One of the main transformations was the creation of the Secretariat of the Identity and Diversity, whose Secretary is Sérgio Mamberti. The establishment of a specific Secretariat to identity and diversity demonstrates the importance given by the State to those issues; in the majority of the speeches and articles analyzed in this dissertation, the presence of those concepts is overwhelming and the approach of the State to them is clear: diversity is an important aspect of Brazilian cultural identity, if not the most relevant one. The theory of the mixed race, current since the 1930s reappears in a new context and its conception has changed; the Ministry related the “melting pot” with the idea of cultural antropophagy and cannibalism. A fragment of a speech given by the Secretary translates the State’s idea about the Brazilian identity.
“Somos mestiços. Não apenas etnicamente mestiços. Somos culturalmente mestiços. Dançando o Aruanã sob a lua; rezando numa capela de Nossa Senhora de Chestokova; curvados sobre a almofada da renda de bilros; […] girando a cor e a vertigem do Boi de Parintins e de São Luís; digerindo antropofagicamente o hip hop no caldo da embolada ou do jongo. Somos irremediavelmente mestiços. A lógica da homogeneização nos oprime”.
In the conception of the State, Brazilians are not only a diverse people, but also they are capable to transform otherness into something authentic by the process of antropophagy. Brazil, in this perspective, historically familiar with the idea of cultural dialogue and interaction, can be set as an example for other nations, can teach lessons about syncretism and cultural dialogue.
“O Brasil aparece aqui, com suas diásporas e as suas misturas, como um emissor de mensagens novas, no contexto da globalização”. 
The shift is significant: Brazilian diversity, once considered a threat by previous governments who tried to import European and North-American models and imposed them into Brazilian reality “misplacing ideas”, now repositions the ideas into place and the country into the world context. Brazil becomes an example to the world because of its cultural diversity. The analysis suggests that the Brazilian reality is being considered on the implementation of foreign ideas.
The discourse of the government is consistent with current debates and especially with ideas of the UNESCO. The Secretary of Identity and Cultural Diversity always quotes the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, published by UNESCO in 2001 as the basis for the creation and formulation of the Secretariat’s policies. Some of the relevant issues raised by the Ministry of Culture in its ongoing politics are coherent with the mainlines of the Declaration: social inclusion, access to cultural products, dialogue, transversal management, partnerships with private sector and civil society, etc., as well as the idea of unity within diversity are among the actions established by the document.
“The Universal Declaration makes it clear that each individual must acknowledge not only otherness in all its forms but also the plurality of his or her own identity, within societies that are themselves plural”. 
Although the main ideas of the Declaration are being incorporated by the government, the Secretary of Identity and Cultural Diversity affirms that there are some challenges to apply the contemporary concept of diversity in Brazilian cultural politics: the contradictory and insufficient treatment of the popular cultures; the difficulty to recognize the local and regional expressions; and the centralization of the cultural production. The elements of decentralization and social inclusion are some of the answers found by the government to overcome those historical obstacles; the new approach to diversity, considered as an important factor for development also supports the transformations. . The Article Number 03 of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognizes this relation. According to the document:
“Cultural diversity widens the range of options open to everyone; it is one of the roots of development, understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence”. 
Since the 1960s, diversity has been an element of the debate about national identity in Brazil; first as a threat, then as a reality that should be defended and now as a factor for development; but its presence represents an element of continuity. In the words of the Minister:
“A multiplicidade cultural brasileira é um fato. Paradoxalmente, a nossa unidade de cultura – unidade básica, abrangente e profunda – também. Em verdade, podemos mesmo dizer que a diversidade interna é, hoje, um dos nossos traços identitários mais nítidos. É o que faz com que um habitante da favela carioca, vinculado ao samba e à macumba, e um caboclo amazônico, cultivando carimbós e encantados sintam-se – e, de fato, sejam – igualmente brasileiros. Somos um povo mestiço que vem criando, ao longo dos séculos, uma cultura essencialmente sincrética. Uma cultura diversificada, plural – mas que é como um verbo conjugado por essa pessoas diversas, em tempos e modos distintos. Porque, ao mesmo tempo, essa cultura é una: cultura tropical sincrética tecida ao abrigo e à luz da língua portuguesa”.
The aspect of unity in diversity is clearly reinforced by the Minister’s discourse and by the creation of a specific Secretariat for this matter. However, to understand how diversity is being related to identity and how identity is conceptualized by the government, the analysis has to go further.
As it was said earlier, governmental discourses and politics in Brazil are consistent with the world debate. The concept of identity, in this perspective, should also be coherent with contemporary discussions over the theme; not surprisingly, is common to find among the official documents names such as Stuart Hall and Nina Obuljen. The entire path of the individual, from the Enlightenment to the post modern era, discussed by Hall in his book “Questions of Cultural Identity” are often quoted in the documents. According to a speech by the Ministry Executive Secretary Juca Ferreira, the government is not after an essence for the Brazilian identity, but rather it admits its fluidity.
“Em lugar das identidades locais fixas, que vão sendo pulverizadas no contexto da globalização, temos novas e múltiplas identidades globalizadas e flexíveis”.
Contrary to the position of previous governments, Gilberto Gil’s office accepts a post modernist approach to identity and undoes the unity sought by those same governments that managed to forge homogeneity pretending a society free of contradictions. The attempt now is to recognize differences within the unity of the nation and identify multiple characters and manifestations. The Secretariat of Identity and Cultural Diversity establishes that the promotion of cultural diversity in Brazil aims to incorporate: identities related to social movements (new identities), as well as the ones related to class situation (country and town workers), gender and sexual oriented, age groups and special focus on the manifestations of popular culture and local and regional cultures. The scope is wider and tries to incorporate the new identities into the public politics and policies.
It is important here not to be taken away from the rhetoric level; as much as the military governments needed to rely on culture to guarantee legitimacy, the present government could be doing the same thing; in a globalized context, where the supremacy of the nation-State have been often argued and discussed, the State is required to find other forms of expression. The incorporation of diversity sought by the present Brazilian government represents an important tool to legitimize its power within the nation and to preserve and establish the country in the world context. Another important aspect of the politics of diversity in Brazil is to identify what is, according to the State, its role towards diversity. Does it continue to be as a defender guaranteeing its preservation?
In the third paragraph of Article 215 of the Brazilian Constitution instituting the Plano Nacional de Cultura, the role of the State is to value the regional ethnic diversity. In other official documents this role would also involve recognition, promotion, protection and preservation. According to the Secretary of Cultural Politics, “the protection, promotion and maintenance of cultural diversity are an essential requirement for sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations”.  The present government extends the role of the State in the cultural arena, acting both preserving and promoting; and here is where the element of rupture resides. Previous attempts did not stimulate the endurance of diversity, but valued it as a patrimony to be preserved; diversity remains categorized as part of the Brazilian immaterial patrimony but is also part of what the country will be made of in the future. At least on rhetorical level, that is the position of the Ministry – identify new manifestations of diversity and reinforce traditional ones.
To conclude, it is important to acknowledge that the one of the main efforts of the Secretariat of Identity and Cultural Diversity is the recognition of the agents of cultural diversity in order to establish a dialogue between them and the State. In this sense, the State positions itself as a mediator in the cultural process.
The rhetorical level
This chapter analyzed the conception of cultural politics held by the Ministry of Culture in Brazil, focusing on the Sistema Nacional de Cultura and on the politics of diversity. The sources analyzed can indicate a few key elements among the main guidelines of the present politics in the cultural arena: decentralization, social inclusion, transversal management, valorization and promotion of diversity, the relation between cultural diversity.
The rupture with previous relations between State and culture in Brazil can be found on the revaluation of diversity and consequently, on the revaluation of the State role in this new perspective. The attempt to decentralize the action of the State towards culture and involve other members of society is also a main shift, specially combined with the idea of transversal management.
The endurance of the element of diversity in the debate about national and cultural identity is relevant for this research because of the shifts faced by the concept in different periods; the current conception is based on a reinvention of the term, repositioning it as an idea that suits Brazilian reality in the world context. The analysis demonstrate that the present government is in tune with the world debate about multiculturalism and globalization and is trying to come up with answers to the Brazilian reality based on the plan of action proposed by the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity released by UNESCO in 2001. The rhetorical level analyzed here does not demonstrate any contradictions; it is based on contemporary ideas and is conscious about the reality of the country.
The next chapter will confront the State’s theory with the practice in order to identify any tensions that might exist between the politics and policies formulated by the present government in Brazil. By confronting these two elements it will be possible to evaluate if the ruptures proposed by the State represent a shift in reality as they did in the rhetoric.
From theory to practice – cultural policies in the Brazilian Ministry of Culture
“In other words, changes in policy are a consequence of changing national values and perceptions.”
By the analysis of the cultural politics that preceded this chapter, the research has already established the key factors considered by the State on the formulation of its policies. The cohesion between the politics and policies will only exist if elements such as decentralization, transversal management, social inclusion and valorization of diversity are present also in the programs and actions promoted by the Ministry. This chapter aims to identify those elements in the policies, focusing the analysis on the ones created and implemented by the Secretariat of Identity and Cultural Diversity and also on the Cultura Viva, one of the main projects created by the MinC and the most often cited on the discourses of the Minister Gilberto Gil. Although the focus is concentrated on those efforts, it is important to acknowledge that the guidelines established by the Sistema Nacional de Cultura (SNC) analyzed before, also represent some effective actions towards the implementation of policies, orienting its form and part of its content and setting the parameters for the analysis on this chapter.
The Secretariat regards as its main responsibilities to support to the process of formulation of cultural politics, to sustain institutional articulation, to promote diversity and cultural exchange through a transversal management and to foment the valorization of the so-called “new identities”, established before (identities related to social movements, class situation, gender and sexual orientation, age groups and the manifestations of popular culture and local and regional cultures). Since its creation, in 2003, the Secretariat promoted a series of seminars and public events to debate issues such as: cultural diversity, popular culture and identity. Besides these actions, it has also implemented policies such as: Rede Cultural da Terra, Rede Cultural dos Estudantes and a project to support the Gay Pride Parades. To set a category of analysis, these policies will be considered based on the following elements: transversal management and promotion of diversity, always bearing in mind that the main purpose of the policies should reinforce these same elements, as proposed on the guidelines set by the politics previously analyzed.
The program Rede Cultural da Terra is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Culture with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and the social movement MST (Movimento dos Sem Terra). It consists of a series of workshops to enable cultural activity and the formulation of map out of the memory of the country man. In 2005, the first action of the project was an exhibition about the history of the movement MST. The project does involve transversal activity, involving not only governmental institutions, but also the social movement; the element of diversity is also present, trying to incorporate the traditions and cultural perceptions of the countryside man (homem do campo) into the national memory, valorizing this “forgotten” national identity. Another project implemented by the SID is the Rede Cultural dos Estudantes; similar to the Rede Cultural da Terra, the project involves partnership with universities to focus on the student environment by promoting their cultural expressions through various artistic languages. The project aims to create new and reinforce old cultural networks; some events have taken place during the years of 2004 and 2005 to guarantee its effectiveness.
The two projects analyzed so far can be included in the identities related to class situation; the next project focuses on identities related to gender and sexual orientation and it consists of financial incentives to support the Gay Pride Parade. It involves partnership with the MinC, with the Ministry of Health and aims to support sexual minority’s interests. In 2005 the government already contributed to the parades in Brazil. Those efforts are also an attempt to decentralize not only the actions of the State towards culture but also to decentralize the access of resources given by the State to a larger number of cultural expressions and manifestations.
Another important project created by the SID is called Cartografia da Diversidade, which is the elaboration of a map out of Brazil’s cultural diversity. It consists on a research to identify the elements that constitute Brazilian diversity, focusing especially on the producers of popular culture. The project is still being implemented and it is currently being supported and formulated by a series of debates and seminars. The main one is the Seminar for Popular Culture, which aims to recognize and foment expressions of Brazilian popular culture and it is the centre of the present actions. According to the Secretariat, the Seminar reinforces the communication with the civil society, respecting the local contexts and also enables the participation of different communities to guarantee the practice of their cultural rights. In 2005, the Seminars were held in various Brazilian cities and it resulted on the publication of a book entitled Seminário de Políticas Públicas para Culturas Populares. The Secretary affirms:
“O discurso de preservar, recuperar, respeitar os valores, o patrimônio e a identidade é bem conhecido pelo povo, está na Constituição e, no entanto, estamos participando de um processo que pela primeira vez o protagonista desta cultura esta sendo ouvido, pelos 15 estados por onde passamos para realizar as oficinas preparatórias, recolhemos problemas e propostas que servirão de base para as diretrizes desta política”.
The evidence considered by this research indicates that social inclusion and social participation is a main feature on all of the projects. Although the focus is the valorization of different identities, the main effort is concentrated on decentralizing the actions, guaranteeing the participation of civil society and cultural communities on the entire process of creation of cultural politics and policies. This effort of “culture for all and by all”, transforms the civil society and the artists in producers and not only beneficiaries of the policies. Besides, it is also important to notice that although the projects are created to valorize diversity, the emphasis is concentrated on popular culture; this is the field where the government focuses its attention. This fact raises a relevant discussion about the concept of diversity and the role of the State towards it; if popular culture and the so-called popular cultural agents (agentes culturais) are the focus of the policies; is diversity really being fomented or only preserved? Are the new identities as important on the policies as the popular culture producers? Those questions reveal that although there is cohesion in the policies created by the SID applying transversal management, social inclusion and valorization of diversity, popular culture is still at the centre of the debate; suggesting a bit of contradiction with the entire discourse about cultural diversity and new identities. Teixeira Coelho, during a conference in Oxford affirms:
“Cultural policies in Lula’s government involve an ideology of authencity, social inclusion and reinforcement of communities. Wherever you read diversity in its official documents and discourses, the real meaning is to preserve its own cultural identity. There’s no policy to support diversity”. 
Although some efforts to support diversity were analyzed here, the element of social inclusion is overwhelming, as well as the focus on popular culture. Whilst cultural politics privilege diversity, the policies focus on social inclusion, transforming the cultural arena in an important factor to guarantee the full exercise of citizenship. The project Cultura Viva, through its main action, the creation of the Pontos de Cultura also reinforces those same elements, privileging the participation of different cultural communities.
The Cultura Viva is a network of cultural communities, “an organic network of cultural management, fomentation and creation”. The articulation happens in the local sphere, through the Pontos de Cultura, (Culture Points), a centre for the activities created in each local community, involving partnership between the private and public sectors, as well as the participation of NGOs. The creation of a Ponto de Cultura is voluntary and made by a public convocation; the government contribution resides on the financial support, providing professionals and materials for the establishment of the centre. During the process, the government also articulates the circulation of the products created by the cultural agents, contributing to the fruition and cultural exchange. However, the State does not establish the activities of the pontos, each community creates a centre based on its own cultural realities and necessities. According to the Minister:
“Mais que um conjunto de obras físicas e equipamentos, o programa envolve a potencialização das energias criadoras do povo brasileiro. Não pode ser considerado um simples ‘deixar fazer’, porque parte de uma instigação, emulação. Mas os rumos, escolhas, definições ao longo do processo, são livres. E o resultados, imprevisíveis”. 
In this perspective, elements such as transversal management, social inclusion, decentralization, reinforcement of communities are present on the project. But it also includes the promotion of diversity, the fomentation of new forms of cultural manifestations, even if under the broader scope of local cultures.
The Cultura Viva is a good example of a policy that involves the goals of the government in the cultural arena. Not only it includes all the main guidelines of the cultural politics, but also puts the theory into practice like no other project in the Ministry. In 2004, more than 250 Pontos de Cultura were establish; in 2005 this number increased and the goal is to set 600 new centers until the end of the year. The results remain unpublished, what makes it difficult (if not impossible) to evaluate the diversity of the cultural manifestations empowered by the project; the focus, therefore, remains on the social inclusion and transversal management as well as on the popular culture manifestations.
By the brief analysis of some of the most representative policies of the MinC, it is possible to suggest that continuity is a key factor for the effectiveness of the State’s action. In all of the projects, diversity is considered and it would probably result as the main consequence of the efforts; but so far the Ministry has been acting more towards changing the form, the way in which these policies are created and guaranteed by a decentralized management, cultural access to a larger number of communities and cultural agents. As the Ministry said, the results are unpredictable; but it is important to acknowledge its main guidelines and the cohesion between theory and practice in the State’s efforts so far. The policies created by the present government in Brazil are an attempt to represent an important rupture in the history of the relation between culture and State in Brazil; it will all depend on the balance between old and new practices, traditions and inventions; and also on the continuity of the ideas that are being proposed.
The balance between past, present and future – continuity as an important element for public policies towards culture.
“Ê, volta do mundo, camará!
Êê, mundo dá volta câmara”.
Since the 1930s the concept of national identity faced a lot of transformations within the Brazilian State. The evidence analyzed in this research indicates that the conception was submitted to the context in which it was created; as a result, Vargas’s dictatorship appropriated the cultural arena to guarantee legitimacy and to fulfill its goals to create a modern nation by eliminating contradictions and transforming Brazil into a racial democracy, a cultural melting pot. The military embraced heterogeneity within unity to be able to control and orient the cultural production using a restricted framework. The governments of the 1980s and 1990s faced with the first impacts of globalization and neoliberalism, embraced an antistatist agenda towards culture, relegating it to the laws of the market and reinforcing patrimony. The present government politics and policies are also coherent with the surrounding context; they are formulated and implemented by a larger group of people and aimed to reach a larger audience, guaranteeing the recognition of different identities. Diversity has become a factor for development and the Ministry is putting in practice the guidelines established by UNESCO, in tune with the world debate. But throughout the process, the new ideas were often confronted with the old practices, creating a tension between what was being proposed, the reality of the country at that stage and the persistence of the traditional concepts.
The tension between the new ideas of the globalized context and the old practices is a reality of the present Ministry of Culture in Brazil, especially because of its innovative attempt to bring culture into a more relevant position within the government. But the tension goes even further. The conception of diversity, present since the 1930s holds some elements of the melting pot theory, but also incorporates new approaches towards multiculturalism; social inclusion is at the centre of the debate, but its practice is transformed by the creation of a dialogue between the State and the communities, enabling the insurgence of new forms of expression. The concept of identity faces new challenges, posed by the recognition of multiple identities, confronted by the traditional ones. The incorporation of new ideas does not happen without contradictions; it does not become a reality overnight; not surprisingly, ruptures depend on the persistence of the new ideas.
The sources considered by this research accounted for the endurance of the concept of diversity in the characterization of Brazilian national identity; what the present Ministry of Culture in Brazil is attempting is to expand the elements that constitute this identity and to reformulate the old ones. The melting pot theory, current since the 1930s is trying to be overcame by the government, suggesting new policies to create unity within diversity, but not a paradox unity – the diverse has to keep its differences within the national identity to enable the reality of multiculturalism. The State is simultaneously reinforcing traditional cultural manifestations and identities and recognizing and fomenting new ones. According to Miller and Yúdice:
“Multiculturalism has been adopted in some developing democracies in Latin America, going against the grain of the normative mestizo melting pots projected by governments and social scientists from the 1930s and 1960s”.
But will this attempt towards multiculturalism ever be incorporated by the “imagined community”? Is this the purpose of the policies or is that only a reality on the discourse level? What kind of Brazil is the Ministry really trying to invent, to bring to reality: a hybrid nation, a melting pot, a multicultural country? The evidence considered here suggests that at this point, all the possibilities are still present, indicating that Brazil, as the rest of the world, is living a period of transaction, but in the Latin American country, the transition holds elements of “asynchronism”: some realities of the old practices live together with new ones. The balance between the traditional and new ideas and the endurance of the elements introduced by the MinC during this term are the factors to be considered to accomplish a rupture, to move the country towards a new perspective. What this research attempted to do was to demonstrate how this new perspective is being articulated and what supports it. What remains uncertain is where this perspective will take Brazilian national and cultural identities; what is beyond its scope is the outcome of the combination of politics and policies in the present State in Brazil since the process has just restarted.
The analysis of public policies is only complete if continuity happens. The classic public policy cycle states that the policies are first elaborated, and then implemented. After its implementation, they are evaluated again to provide a feedback about its effectiveness and weaknesses; this view provides evidence to adjust the policy and then to implement it back again. This is where the cycle restarts. The policies towards culture, with the exception of the Lei Rouanet, which is constantly being reevaluated, lack some of the stages established by this cycle; they are often substituted by others, according to the government. The success of the incentive laws (Lei Sarney, Lei Rouanet) can provide the basis to confirm that continuity is a major factor for the triumph of a public policy in culture. In this perspective, it is possible to affirm that diversity is another successful element in the policies; it has been adjusted, its conception has changed, but it remains attached to Brazilian national identity since 1930s. According to Lia Calabre, specialist in Cultural Politics in the Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa:
“Temos um primeiro problema que é a falta histórica de existência de uma prática de elaboração de políticas, temos em profusão a elaboração de ações, em todas as áreas de governo, isso é, uma cultura ação da área de gestão pública brasileira sem a preocupação de acompanhamento e avaliação. […] Não podemos falar de uma grande linha política que oriente o conjunto das ações do Minc podemos falar de ações integradas e todo tempo discutidas pelo conjunto dos dirigentes do Ministério.”
The statement suggests that the State is now evaluating the policies, trying to adjust them and to articulate them in all levels of society; this is reinforced by the attempt to create a dialogue between the members of the State with cultural manifestations forgotten by the previous governments. The main shift that the present Ministry of Culture in Brazil aims to achieve is to relocate culture within the government policies, transforming the cultural arena in a protagonist of the actions and not relegating it to the margins of the actions. Nevertheless, this process is still on the way of being implemented; the continuity of the elements of decentralization, social inclusion, valorization of diversity, transversal management proposed by the present government can relocate culture to centre of the debate. The analysis proposed by this research also needs to be relocated; although some of the most important cultural politics and policies of the present State in Brazil were considered and deeply investigated here, the debate that it raises has to be located in a broader scope, which is the rupture attempted by the Ministry of Culture to reformulate the concept of culture within the State. Only the acknowledgement of this fact enables us to understand how continuities and ruptures are being articulated nowadays in the relation between State and culture in Brazil. During this research, I have tried to demonstrate that the rupture has already been established; the new Brazil, proposed and invented by the MinC will only exist if the element of continuity, for once in the history of this relation, prevails; and if the aspiration to reposition the cultural office from the margins to centre of the State becomes a reality.