PhD. project: Discourses and niche innovations for development in creative industries in Argentina and Brazil

Creative Industries (CI) is a concept that embraces several and heterogeneous sectors that are said to share the common feature of basing their production on human creativity. It is understood in this research as a discourse, originally pioneered in Australia and United Kingdom in the 90s that quickly expanded to other countries, like Germany, China, Singapore, among others. International organizations have promoted it as a feasible development strategy connecting economic growth with cultural production, where creativity, knowledge and technology play a central role (UNDP & UNCTAD, 2010). However, other organizations still prefer to keep the previous term of cultural industries, like UNESCO (Hornidge, 2011a). On a micro level, the increasing interest in CI is fostering incipient pioneering research on how creativity and innovation are nurtured and connected in these industries. But, why has such a new concept emerged? Critics to the approach understand its appearance as a strategy to fictitiously link culture´s agenda with that of the knowledge/information society, overstressing the importance of innovation and technologies (Garnham, 2005). This is said to hide the will of interest groups to strictly extend intellectual property rights worldwide, which in many situations is in contradiction with the aim of equality and access to cultural productions implicit in many national policies (Ibid).

Latin America has been no exception to the expansion and discussions about this discourse that nevertheless takes place in a very specific context in the region, named post-neoliberal, where the influences of the Washington consensus policies have been weakened. The state has regained importance in policy design and implementation paying attention to economic growth objectives with social inclusion, and it also paved the way for many grassroots originated initiatives. In this situation, there is room to ask how have creative industries discourses been adopted and contested in countries of the region to meet “development” challenges. For instance, have new enterprises or institutions emerged that are at the same time examples of innovation and social inclusiveness? To answer this and related questions, the influence, expansion and specific characteristics of creative industries discourses will be studied in Argentina and Brazil at the policy level. To inquire on the innovative and socially inclusive effects, practices of paradigmatic niche cases that belong to the social economy will be selected in each country to research on the potentials of innovation and creativity for inclusive development. Specifically, the creative processes, the role of discourses in resources mobilization and their effects on the institutionalizations of niche innovations will be inquired.



I participated in this project  “Opening Up Natural Resource-Based Industries for Innovation: Exploring New Pathways for Development in Latin America”. Final reports and other information can be accessed here.