Quality of Life and Community Formation

The Cultural Politics of the El Agustinazo Concert in Lima, Peru

Reviewed by Marielle Alvino
November 10, 2014

The orthodox international aid rhetoric may sometimes imply that development initiatives should center their efforts in covering the basic needs of marginalized, low income communities. Nevertheless, this often comes at the cost of envisioning an oblique, normative reality for these neighborhoods. In her seminal investigation on the development of cultural policies in the remaking of public areas, Johns Hopkins undergraduate Sarah Horton proposes that we also consider community formation as an important contributor to the quality of life of residents in impoverished areas of urban Lima, Peru.

Horton eases the reader into her subject by making the right questions: Are cultural initiatives antithetical to marginalized neighborhoods? Can cultural performances improve dialogue between citizens and the state? Focusing the scope of her investigation on the efforts of one cultural promoter, the Cultura Viva grassroots organization, is also appropriate. Its influence is successfully detailed in the context of one cultural event, the 2012 Agustinazo rock concert, in the high risk neighborhood of El Agustino.

Another important contribution of this paper is its description of the adherence of cultural organizations into public policy. Though still in its incipient stages, governmental support for community initiatives in Lima is an acknowledgement for the need to broaden and strengthen the base of civil society to create safer communities. Thus, this paper introduces us to the importance of developing communal interactions to best face the social and economic challenges of Lima’s urban life.

View the full paper here!

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