Televising the revolution as cultural policy: Bolivarian state broadcasting as nation-building

This article examines the role of the Caracas-based, pan-Latin American state broadcaster, TeleSUR, in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Drawing on Manuel Castells’ communication theory of the information age, in which global society has become a series of interlinked ‘networks’, and the ‘information economy’ has displaced manufacturing, the article argues that the Bolivarian Revolution, led by the late Hugo Chávez (1954–2013), is a network state, and as such is to be understood as a network of interconnected political, economic and communication interests. As an integral part of this network state, then, the TeleSUR broadcaster sets the agenda in the international sphere via satellite, cable and the Internet. Since petroleum is one of Venezuela’s main commodities – the country produces little in the way of manufacturing – and its main export, one of the ways in which Venezuela projects itself to the world is not with material commodities (oil notwithstanding), but images such as those that regularly appear on TeleSUR. This exportation of images of Chavismo and of Chávez himself, the article concludes, has become both cultural policy and a form of incipient nation-building.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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