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The formation of a cultural and civilizational community in Latin America
Material posted: Publication date: 17-04-2018

In the domestic latinoamericanistics there are two diametrically opposite approach.

According to one, there is no independent Latin American cultural traditions do not exist, and in XX century — it outskirts, periphery of Western civilization[1]. According to another point of view, Latin America is seen as a frontier civilization[2]. So can we talk about the existence of the unique cultural traditions and cultural and civilizational community in Latin America? To answer this question, we must trace the stages of the formation of Latin American identity and cultural identity. Identity in culture is samopoznanie his culture and representation of its features among other cultural worlds[3].

Since the expansion of the Iberian New world countries the process of formation of common cultural and civilizational community, and the formation of cultural identity in Latin America developed with great difficulties. This is due to the anthropological, ethnoracial and cultural heterogeneity. Iberian expansion has evolved so that led to large-scale ethnoracial mixing and the complex ethnocultural relations in the total campaign of Christianization of the Indians. This process of integrating an unfamiliar culture with the culture of the local population in different regions of Latin America took place differently. Darcy Ribeiro classify Latin American countries into three groups depending on the degree of integration of indigenous and European civilizations. He identified three groups: "people-the witnesses," new peoples and displaced peoples.

To the "people-witnesses" are Mexico, Central America and the Andean countries such as Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. In these countries there has been a dramatic process of deculturation (loss of one's own culture) by forcible introduction of the Iberian culture. However, due to the strength of tradition to completely eradicate the culture of the local population failed, which in one way or another has been preserved as a unique component of cultural identity[4].

The new Nations are the result of the fusion of European, indigenous and African civilizations. This process of mixing created a new ethnic group that is characterized by a weaker attachment to tradition. D. Ribeiro also distinguish two subgroups: the first with the African matrix (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Caribbean countries), the second matrix of the indigenous population (Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina). In these countries almost completely lost the cultural elements of indigenous civilizations and began an active process of integration with European culture[5].

Displaced peoples - the Nations created by European migration of people who had not mixed with the indigenous peoples and restored European way of life abroad. In countries such as Argentina and Uruguay the impact of Ibero-American cultural heritage are almost lost or at least significantly reduced at all levels due to the predominance of European culture[6]. Of course, even within each of these groups can be found further differences, but this does not deny the formation of a common Latin American identity.

A complex symbiosis of the indigenous population, European immigrants, their descendants, the Creoles and forcibly brought blacks because of the ban to turn Indians into slaves, the emergence of a new anthropological type — tone — all-emerging Latin American community the fundamental question of identity: who are we? A mixture of European, indigenous and Negro traditions, the increasing interaction with neverisky European traditions have created a new cultural and civilizational community, which has no analogues in the foreseeable historical space, which presents virtually the entire world community. It is this idea that in the early nineteenth century will be a crucial component of Latin American identity: the birth of "humanity in miniature"[7], i.e. a community, which combines all those living on earth types of man[8].

Originated in the colonial period the idea of identity receives a new impulse in the course of the War for independence. National consolidation became the new unifying factor in Latin American societies in the struggle against the expansion. Latin American integration on the ideals of freedom and liberation forms a new mentality as a spiritual system, type of rationality, of thinking that separates Latinos from the Europeans and brings them together. In this case, the subject of the struggle for independence becomes a separate and abstract personality, as a collective whole - the people.

A key figure in developing the idea of identity becomes Simon Bolivar. Its main idea is the transition to the new, the actual cultural and civilizational level. A supporter of social equality, he believes that people are born "it should be equal to completely melt ... the great diversity of people, political beliefs and social traditions"[9]. Another aspect of the formation of Latin American identity is the idea of a profound difference between South and North America: "the laws must be born by the people who report to them. You should create appropriate everything that makes this land and this people, your code. This code should guide us, not the Code of Washington"[10]. According to A. Arda[11], the definition of "Latin" versus South of the continent North of Anglo-Saxon America, was born in the 30th years of the 19th century and became widespread in the 50-70-ies.

The necessary prerequisite for developing aldeletesources consciousness as a new global reality was the formation of Latin American folklore and literature that expressed the ideas of cultural identity and self-determination. The largest literary and cultural studies of Latin America of the XX century Fernando Ainsa wrote: "a Significant proportion of what we understand under the cultural identity of Latin America, determined through the literature"[12]. Novels and short stories related to the "liberation genre", acted much more effectively than was done in the field of political discourse, subjected to ideological pressure and manipulation, or in anthropological and sociological research, depending on particular ideological or theoretical model[13]. F. Ainsa also identified "a common base substrate and a common artistic and expressive constants Latin recreating the world of Latin America"[14].

Thus emerged not only a new anthropological type, but a new consciousness, a new cultural unconscious, a new mentality and awareness of their otherness, and the main result of the XX century is the creation of strong Latin American cultural and civilizational traditions, drawing on a wide range of cultural, literary and philosophical creativity.


[1]V. B. Zemskov Identity and culture // Latin America. 2009. No. 7. P. 75-78

[2] Ya. G. Shemyakin, Europe and Latin America. Interaction of civilizations in the context of world history. M., 2001.

[3]V. B. Zemskov Identity and culture // Latin America. 2009. No. 7. P. 75-78

[4] Darcy Ribeiro, Las Américas y la Civilización. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1968. p. 85-91.

[5] Darcy Ribeiro, Las Américas y la Civilización. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1968. p. 187-98.

[6] Darcy Ribeiro, Las Américas y la Civilización. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1968. pp. 377-83.

[7] Bolivar, S. Selected works. 1812-1830. M.,1983.

[8] V. B. Zemskov Identity and culture // Latin America. 2009. No. 7. P. 75-78

[9] Bolivar, S. Selected works. 1812-1830. M.,1983.

[10] ibid.

[11] A. Ardao Génesis de la idea y el nombre de América Latina. Caracas, 1980.

[12] F. Ainsa Identidad cultural de Iberoamérica en su narrativa. Madrid, 1986.

[13] ibid.

[14] ibid.

Rozhon Catherine

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