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Promoting “Cultural Rights” for Inhabitants of Segregated Neighbourhoods in Cape Town, Salvador de Bahia, and Toulouse. From “Cultural Insurrection” to Epistemic Action

Les mouvements culturels en faveur des « droits culturels » des habitants des quartiers ségrégués du Cap, de Salvador de Bahia et de Toulouse : de l’« insurrection culturelle » à l’action épistémique
Los movimientos culturales en favor de los “derechos culturales” de los habitantes de los barrios segregados de Ciudad del Cabo, Salvador de Bahía y Toulouse: de la “insurrección cultural” a la acción epistémica
Die kulturellen Bewegungen zugunsten der “kulturellen Rechte” der Bewohner segregierter Stadtviertel in Kapstadt, Salvador de Bahia und Toulouse: vom “kulturellen Aufstand” zur epistemischen Aktion
Lionel Arnaud, Léo Fortaillier et Julie Lourau
Traduction de Katharine Throssell
Cet article est une traduction de :
Les mouvements culturels en faveur des « droits culturels » des habitants des quartiers ségrégués du Cap, de Salvador de Bahia et de Toulouse : de l’« insurrection culturelle » à l’action épistémique [fr]


Définie et valorisée par plusieurs textes internationaux, la notion de droits culturels se diffuse au sein des États dans un contexte où les pouvoirs publics tendent à reformuler leur discours sur la « culture » et la « démocratisation culturelle ». Mais dans quelle mesure les politiques culturelles prennent-elles en compte les capacités d’expression des populations culturellement minorisées ? Fondé sur l’étude de trois mouvements culturels qui opèrent au sein des quartiers ségrégués du Cap (Afrique du Sud), de Salvador de Bahia (Brésil) et de Toulouse (France), cet article analyse leur capacité à diffuser des idées et des pratiques qui faisaient jusque-là l’objet d’une forte résistance institutionnelle, et à réorienter le modèle de redistribution des ressources de chaque ville pour favoriser les expressions culturelles des populations racisées et ethnicisées. Les premiers résultats de cette comparaison internationale montrent que, dans les trois villes étudiées, les militants culturels se heurtent aux mêmes rigidités institutionnelles et idéologiques et qu’ils mobilisent des modalités d’action convergentes, tout autant politiques qu’entrepreneuriales.

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1This article analyses the way in which “cultural rights” are mobilized by cultural movements to promote and defend the aesthetics and lifestyles of minority groups. The notion of cultural rights is present in several international treaties and part of the legal framework of human rights. In recent years it has become central in referring to rights, freedoms, and responsibilities for an individual, either alone or collectively, with and for others, to choose and express their identity, and access cultural references a necessary resource for their identity-building process. Its interpretation remains subject to debate however, if only because the way it is “translated” must constantly incorporate considerations on the historical context of each society. The priorities in this area are not equivalent in different regions of the world and different periods when an indigenous group is threatened, or a language is in danger, or a form of heritage is destroyed, or an artist or writer is imprisoned, tortured, or executed. Added to this is the fact that different countries, institutions, and actors take a different perspective on cultural rights. They may be considered a renewal of the principal of cultural democratization and access to the arts (through the development of participation), or as a means of promoting the creativity of citizens, or as a way of recognising multiculturalism and equal legitimacy of all cultures.

2All around the world, activists working to promote recognition for cultural diversity have not waited for their local and national governments to get up to speed on this question, before demanding their communities have a right to cultural self-determination. The legitimacy given to this issue in international texts today allows communities to force public authorities to reformulate their discourses on “culture” and “cultural democratization.” Analysed here as militant collective action, with different statuses but which all aim to transform the cultural status quo (Arnaud 2018, 2022), cultural movements are seen as contributing to a genuine “paradigm shift”. In other words, they constitute a fundamental challenge to the cognitive foundations of cultural policies, by altering the rules of the institutional game, weakening dominant actors, and reinforcing ideas and actions that were previously marginalized (Hall 1993). Demands for cultural rights challenge the belief that culture is something that should be “exemplary,” and which should be “brought” to the population in the form of an aesthetic experience or work of art. Traditional institutions (theatre, opera, museums, etc.), and “culture professionals” are put on the same level as social groups that form an identity through the sharing of a specific way of life, tastes, beliefs, and cultural traditions. Historically these groups have worked to influence public policy from the outside, and would become “partners” in a context where relations with the state and its actions are being redefined. They are more and more in a position to contribute to the spread of ideas and practices that previously face strong institutional resistance. Beyond this, they may also contribute to the re-organization of the model for redistributing resources, so that they are more directed at cultural minority populations.

  • 1 In terms of public policy analysis, the programmatic approach aims to re-evaluate the strategic an (...)

3We have chosen to test this hypothesis by comparing three different cultural collectives in three cities, in three countries, on three continents—Cape Town in South Africa, Salvador in the state of Bahia in Brazil, and Toulouse in France. These three case studies all present very contrasting situations in terms of the management of racialized and ethnicized groups. Due to the format of this article, this study focuses on the actions of three cultural movements that share the same desire to defend a diversity of practices and cultural tastes for residents in socially and culturally segregated areas, but which differ in terms of their resources and repertoires for action. These three examples are the Khayelitsha Art School and Rehabilitation Centre (KASI-RC), which seeks to “decolonize” theatre in the informal housing of the biggest Township in Cape Town; the Casa Cultural Reggae dedicated to reggae culture on the margins of the historic centre of Pelourinho in Salvador; the association Tackticollectif which promotes the memory of immigration in working-class neighbourhoods in the north of Toulouse. Basing our approach on an analysis of change driven by ideas and actors (Mahoney & Thelen 2010), the goal here is to measure the ability of these movements to promote their causes to local authorities and move from the status of “insurgent” actors—who are removed from decision-making circles and seek to overthrow the rules of the game—to “programmatic actors”—who have sufficient resources to be able to guide and define the content of public action.1 However, although the cultural movements studied in this article appear to be the primary actors for the cultural rights of ethnic and racialized communities at the local level, we will show that they are not structured around a programme for overall change and do not have access to the positions of power that would enable them to directly participate in decision-making. In essence, their knowledge and their influence are essentially pragmatic in that they stem from the practices of actors and their interactions. Thus, the groups that we will study have a production role that is epistemic—more or less directly through the organization of concerts, spectacles, exhibitions, conferences, or simply by setting up spaces for creation, debate, and transmission that aim to break away from dominant codes, rules, and knowledge. In so doing, they foster the creation of communities that contribute to formalising and creating corpora of knowledge, aesthetics, and expertise able to compete with cultural institutions (Akrich 2010; Arnaud 2021).

Box 1. Cultural Rights in Practice

The way in which the notion of cultural rights has spread through national spaces raises questions about the international circulation of ideas (Bourdieu 2002), but also about the cognitive and political work involved in constructing a public problem which is a prerequisite for it being put on the agenda (Hassenteufel 2011; Neveu 2015). Cultural rights are part of the legal framework of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes that “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” (article 27), and also in the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCP) from 1966, of which article 27 stipulates, “minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.” These rights have been the subject of renewed attention in light of the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity of 2001 and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 2005 which 148 states have signed, including South Africa, Brazil, and France. In a text adopted in 2007 under the name “Fribourg Declaration,” a group of philosophers and cultural activists mandated by UNESCO has set out to provide a more specific definition of cultural rights and to affirm them as specific rights.

These different initiatives can be seen as the result of a longer process of recognition of initiatives by NGOs that have defended the diversity of cultures and ways of life around the world for many years. But these texts also constitute a new social and political category through which actors perceive and act on the world. In this respect programmatic actors appear to be “moral actors” (Becker 1985) and “claims-makers” (Spector & Kitsuse 1977), and the question is how to grasp the mechanisms that foster the spread of the “cultural rights” category at the national level. This question is all the more salient as cultural rights are not opposable—even though they are sometimes incorporated into legal texts, simply because the notion of a “right to participate in cultural life” is semantically vague. Cultural rights must therefore be analysed above all as a perspective for action, a project for society, and even more as a political and cognitive resource for “claims-makers” to promote their causes and reinforce their position in local political competition. Some “coalesce” (Jenkins-Smith & Sabatier 1999) to conduct doctrinal or ideological work with elected representatives and cultural actors, while others organize to concretely promote their cultural rights, without necessarily referring to canonical texts, but attempting to shake up the frames of local public action through the implementation of programmes for action.

4But what is the relationship between the populations and organizations that operate in the South African townships, Brazilian periferias, and the French grands ensembles (large housing estates)? The diversity of economic, political, social, and spatial contexts in which these cultural movements emerge and take shape might be enough to neutralize any attempt to compare them. However, the objective is not to compare them directly point-by-point, and still less to establish an overview of cultural politics in these three cities, but rather to undertake a comparative sociology of cultural mobilizations in segregated neighbourhoods. We will look at the nature of these groups, their structures, and the influence they have in terms of implementing cultural rights, which we consider to be a process of recognition of depreciated identities and cultures as well as a demand for correcting inequalities in resources (Fraser 1999). After having presented the historical institutional constraints that hinder the promotion of cultural rights for racialized populations, particularly Afro-descendant populations, in South Africa, Brazil, and France, we will analyse the way in which these three cultural movements set out to challenge the “cultural order” at the local or national level.

Box 2. Methodology

The data presented in this article are the result of international and interdisciplinary collaboration in the context of the project entitled, “Cultural rights: a turning point for cultural policies? An international comparison Brazil-France-South Africa”. Coordinated by Lionel Arnaud, this programme has brought together four research centres, since 2019: the Laboratoire des sciences sociales du politique (LaSSP, Institute of Political Studies of Toulouse, Université Paul-Sabatier Toulouse 3), the Laboratoire interdisciplinaire solidarités, sociétés, territoires – Centre interdisciplinaire d’études urbaines (LISST-CIEU, Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès), the Human Sciences Research Council (Le Cap), and the research group Antropologia, Fronteiras, Espaços e Cidadania (AFEC) based at the Catholic University of Salvador de Bahia. It has brought together sociologists, anthropologists, and geographers, as well as Brazilian, French, and South African activists, particularly those directly studied in the article, who are therefore research associates. With the support from the French Ministry of Culture, the “Laboratory of Excellence” programme (LABEX) Structurations des mondes sociaux (SMS) at the federal university of Toulouse, the Institut des Amériques and the Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud, this programme has allowed us to organize visits and research seminars, firstly in Cape Town in March 2020 and then in Salvador in May 2022, notwithstanding the interruptions caused by the pandemic.

The fieldwork is based on an inductive approach, using direct observations of cultural movements in segregated neighbourhoods in Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse. It also relies on around 20 semi -directive interviews, conducted generally in person but sometimes also online, with the founders and activists in these movements, as well as certain representatives of relevant municipal bodies. It did not receive any specific funding. The members of the research team, whether permanent researchers, PhD candidates, or on short term contracts, conducted this research alongside our other academic activities: Lionel Arnaud in Toulouse, Léo Fortaillier in Cape Town, and Julie Lourau in Salvador. Just as intentionally, other researchers and students collaborated on this research project, through the comments and reflections and sometimes fieldwork: Romina Hushi, Corinne Siino, Jeremias Pinto and Lis de Almeida Felix in Salvador; Leslie Banks, Ndipiwe Mkuzo and Richard Haines in Cape Town.

1. Cultural Rights through the Lens of National and Local Policies

5Exploring the way culture is constructed and used as a category of public action is an inevitable stage in studying how these categories of thought and action are formed. This includes the words used to describe them, the groups of actors who enact them, the institutions through which they are materialized, and the discourses that serve to legitimate them (Dubois 2021). This first section presents the political, historical, and institutional contexts of Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse. Unsurprisingly, these first results underline the impact of national history in the understanding of culture, and particularly the importance of colonial heritage. In South Africa, Brazil, and France, this history associates fine arts, artistic creation, and heritage, in an approach that is communitarian, socio-cultural, even folkloric. This situation leads to the marginalization of certain cultural practices and reinforces the segregation of particular populations.

1. 1. Cultural Policies and Pluri-Culturalism

  • 2 Among other things, France has not ratified the European Charter on Minority Languages, which it s (...)
  • 3 Understood here as fluctuating groups with claims to a shared ethnic, linguistic, or social belong (...)

6France has long been an example in terms of cultural policy, with significant state involvement in artistic life, high levels of spending, many renowned public institutions, and the omnipresence of political discourses marked by voluntarism and emblematic figures such as André Malraux (French minister for Cultural affairs 1959-1969) and Jack Lang (French Minister for Culture 1981-1986, 1988-1993). Yet the French model is not devoid of paradox, given that the French state is often much quicker to defend cultural diversity beyond its borders than in France itself.2 For the French authorities, the defence of cultural diversity is motivated more by a desire to extract works of art from the commercial sphere—in other words the economic areas (such as cinema, television, music, etc.) that are threatened by American cultural industries—and much less by a recognition of “cultural communities”3 within French society (Urfalino 1993).

7This approach, which prioritizes the cultural choices of the state and of the political and administrative elites, appears to be quite different from the one promoted by the Brazilian and South African governments. In South Africa, the liberation of Nelson Mandela in 1990 paved the way for a period of optimistic redefinition of cultural policy, envisaged as a tool to bring reconciliation to a society torn apart by apartheid, and build the famous “rainbow nation” promoted by the Anglican archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. But this multicultural policy has essentially been limited to symbolic actions and declarations, which equate (or even confuse) social cohesion, nation building, and the glorification of the history of the African National Congress (ANC) (Abrahams 2016). Moreover, the top-down inegalitarian model inherited from apartheid seems to persist, contributing to the alienation of ordinary people from decision-making circles (Hagg 2010). In Brazil, the progress made during the mandates of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and then Dilma Roussef (2011-2016) in favour of popular or peripheral cultures, aiming to promote ethnic, religious, gender, and regional diversity, and so forth, were eroded by the government of Jair Bolsonaro (President of the Federative Republic of Brazil from 1st January 2019 to 31th December 2022). From the moment he was elected in 2018, he set out to destabilize politics by, for example, appointing an “anti-black movement” activist at the head of the Palmares Foundation, an institution whose mission is to “promote and preserve the cultural, social, and economic values resulting from the Black influence on the formation of Brazilian society.”4 Beyond that, Jair Bolsonaro also used his influence to censor bodies and artists who opposed him openly and/or whose cultural value he discredited (Afro-descendants, indigenous peoples, LGBTQI+…).

1. 2. The Weight of Colonial Heritage

8South Africa, Brazil, and France have different models for managing cultural diversity, ranging from “assimilationism” on the one hand, to “multiculturalism” on the other (Schnapper 1998). But these three countries nevertheless deal with the question of cultural communities in the context of a dominant culture, which remains closely linked to the history of European imperialism.

9The racial and racist theories of the late-19th century had a direct impact on the way cultural policies were able to contribute to the construction of the young Brazilian nation. They helped reassert the colonial hierarchy that was threatened by the abolition of slavery (1888) and the proclamation of the Republic (1889). Against a backdrop of racial theories, Brazilian intellectuals developed a local version of miscegenation, in which the idea of degeneracy was replaced by a certain exoticism, a particular charm (Schwarcz 1994). They contributed to the creation of a myth of a “mestizo” Brazilian national identity and a “racial democracy” closely moulded on European “good manners,” to the detriment of African or indigenous cultures that were considered uncivilized. And although the 1988 Constitution promotes the expression of cultural diversity and makes it possible to add specific “segments” to cultural policies (“Afro,” “periphery,” “indigenous,” etc.), it does not undermine the hierarchical and Eurocentric structure of Brazilian society (Restier & Malungo de Souza 2019).

10The same is true in South Africa, where although the negative impact of the imperialist cultural legacy of white domination has been recognized by the Department of Arts and Culture, through the desire to build a peaceful “multiracial” society, cultural policy does not challenge the “manufacturing of nations and ethnicities” (Fauvelle-Aymar 2016) under apartheid. Rather, it seeks to “unite in diversity” (1996 Constitution) through depoliticized instruments of arts and culture (Barolsky 2013). The goal is to generate a sense of “South Africa(ness)” (Abrahams 2016: 102), through a set of national symbols and the aesthetic celebration of works and artists able to represent a nation at ease with itself, whether in music, theatre, visual arts, or rugby.

  • 5 Priority neighbourhoods for city policy (Les quartiers prioritaires de la politique de la ville [Q (...)

11The French state, on the other hand has promoted “cultural universalism” throughout its history, a notion based on the grandeur and superiority of European works. By contrast “regional” or immigrant cultures were relegated to “socio-cultural,” or “infra-cultural” works, or to “folklore” (Dubois 1999). Following the victory of the left in the 1981 presidential elections, the tasks of the Ministry of Culture evolved. The democratization of culture began to be considered part of individual self-fulfilment through creation, through the respect of cultural diversity, and the Ministry began to work with policies for urban projects and solidarity in priority neighbourhoods for city policy (QPV).5 However, when national or local authorities provide financial and symbolic support for cultural practices they consider “minor,” it is on the condition that these are expressed in “culturally correct” ways, in keeping with the tastes of the dominant classes and the norms that dominate in cultural administration circles (Arnaud 2008; Dubois 2017).

1. 3. Local Cultural Policy and (Spatial) Division of Institutional Labour

12In these three countries, the definition and promotion of single culture, which is often euro-centric, has been contested to the extent that it may constitute a negation of cultural diversity. Beyond that, cultural policies are sometimes accused of awarding too much importance to “art and culture professionals” to the point where they do not take into account the positions that a broader group of actors experience. In very concrete terms, these policies result in a phenomenon of institutional, social, and spatial segregation which contributes to marginalising residents in peripheral neighbourhoods.

  • 6 City council of Toulouse website consulted on 12th December 12, 2020.
  • 7 City council of Toulouse. La Culture en mouvement. Le projet culturel pour Toulouse 2009-2014, 200 (...)
  • 8 Toulouse Métropole & City council of Toulouse. Toulouse, savoirs & imaginaires. Perspectives cultu (...)
  • 9 Charte Engagement Culture – Politique de la ville 2017-2020 État-Toulouse Métropole. (Musée des Ab (...)

13In Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse, for example, most cultural infrastructures (public and private) are concentrated in city centres, where residents can choose from several concert halls, theatres, opera, cinemas, museums, or art galleries. At best, the favelas, townships, cités populaires, and other so-called “peripheral” neighbourhoods might have “community” or “socio-cultural” services to contribute to local animation and “social cohesion,” but only rarely have major cultural facilities. For example, the city of Toulouse oversees seven cultural centres and eight community animation centres, as well as seven official youth cultural centres (maisons des jeunes et de la culture [MJC]) and nine multi-purpose reception centres. These facilities aim to “facilitate access for large numbers of people to the discovery and practice of artistic, cultural, educational, physical, well-being, and leisure activities in a perspective of exchange, and social diversity on the grass-roots level.”6 The importance of entertainment is stressed here but culture is nevertheless envisaged from the perspective of works that are recognized by major facilities in the city centre. The 2008 election of a Socialist mayor, running on a platform with other left-wing candidates (socialists, communists, radical left, and greens) was a radical break from the 40 years of right-wing hegemony. It marked an unprecedented project for shared meaning in culture public policy, or even a desire to redefine the terms of reference in this area7. But although culture has since taken on a strategic dimension, including with the return of the right to the City Council of Toulouse in 2014, the goal was to make it a tool for international prestige and tourism, by awarding prime place to the most legitimate displays of art and creation8. In this context, the commitment charter on “City Cultural Policy 2017-2020” that the central state, the city of Toulouse, and other cities around France signed with seven cultural institutions (museums, theatres, concert halls, conservatories, etc.) remains driven by specific logics of “cultural democratization, artistic and cultural education, and the creation and spread of artworks in priority neighbourhoods.”9 Accessible pricing and greater geographical accessibility for emblematic festivals, with accredited institutions and major cultural facilities, have been established with these partners “without undermining their primary missions, which may be the support of artistic creation and the spread of artworks, the development of public reading, teaching artistic disciplines, or the conservation and promotion of elements of shared historical and contemporary heritage.” For the municipality of Toulouse, the goal is to push these large expensive institutions to open up to as many people as possible, with a view to developing their audiences, but with the same desire to prioritize “access” to a form of culture that is considered solely from the point of view of the works recognized by these institutions.

  • 10 Website of the Secretariat of Culture in Bahia, consulted on 30th June 2022.
  • 11 In Salvador, the term periphery is used by urbanists, geographers, or sociologists to refer to rel (...)
  • 12 Renamed União in 2021 following its merger with the Parti Social Libéral (PSL).
  • 13 ACM Neto belongs to an important family in Bahia. He is the grandson of an ex-governor of the stat (...)
  • 14 “The SNC [Sistema nacional de Cultura] is a management system (…) organized as a collaborative reg (...)
  • 15 The Plano Nacional de Cultura (PNC) implements cultural public policies according to the principle (...)
  • 16 Cadastro Organizacional de la Saltur, Salvador Tourist Office, consulted on 3rd July 2022.

14In Salvador, the Secretary of Culture (SECULT) in the state of Bahia, a state that has been governed by the Workers’ Party since 2007 and is therefore firmly left-wing, manages twenty-seven cultural spaces.10 These are spaces dedicated to reading, fine arts, and performance art. Nineteen of them are in the city centre and six in areas deemed “peripheral” (periferia)11—an insignificant number given the size of the town and the means at its disposal. These centres are intended to disseminate local culture and offer free or low-cost courses (guitar, chess, capoeira, etc.). The SECULT also documented forty-two “Pontos de cultura” which were launched in 2010 by the Lula government and that allow community projects to access specific funding based on a tender system. Generally speaking, the public of the inner-city cultural network are mostly middle class. The population in peripheral areas does not access this network, particularly because of the cost of tickets, transport, and urban and police violence. The policies of the City of Salvador de Bahia, which has almost always been governed by conservative parties, are centred around a dual dynamic of calls for projects using public funding (with small budgets) and policies for incentives to private enterprise through tax deductions. These policies also concern the valorization and conservation of heritage (architecture, municipal archives, and libraries). Since 2013, the city has been governed by the centre-right Democratas (DEM)12 party, which defends neo-liberal economic policy. Between 2013 and 2021 Antonio Carlos Magalhaes Neto completed two four-year-long mandates.13 Despite his opposition to the Workers Party, he introduced the Sistema nacional de Cultura (SNC)14 and the Plano Nacional de Cultura (PNC)15 which were designed by the Lula government to decentralize budgets and decision-making. Breaking away from previous mayors who had had little interest in culture, ACM Neto created a Conselho Municipal de Política Cultural (CMPC) to participate in the development of cultural policies at the city level. These strategies, whether from the state of Bahia or the city of Salvador, were driven by the desire to foster tourism, for example the Carnival mega-event whose mission was to “promote the municipality of Salvador as a national and international tourist attraction.”16

  • 17 Minty Zayd, “The People’s Cultural Policy”, blog Creative City South, online, 1st March 2018, acce (...)
  • 18 Generally speaking, major public cultural facilities such as the Artscape Theatre Centre and the B (...)
  • 19 This can be partly explained by the fact that in South Africa culture is a provincial and national (...)

15Cape Town was the first African city to develop a specific cultural policy in 1995, with a dedicated team within the City Council, the Arts and Culture Unit, and strong involvement from cultural actors within the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.17 This policy was made possible by reallocating funds dedicated to the city’s two classical music orchestras, which in itself constitutes a gesture of “symbolic reparation” since this budget is now used to support cultural projects in segregated neighbourhoods.18 In 2000, the “metropolization” of Cape Town, which absorbed the five other municipalities in that urban area, put an end to this relatively ambitious initial cultural policy, as a result of the redefinition of political balances and priorities. Depending on the municipal councils, arts and culture were given missions that varied between socio-cultural activities and economic and tourist development. Although the budget allocated to this sector varies, it remains generally low. In 2021, the 31 million rands dedicated to the Arts and Culture department pale in comparison to the 68 billion rands the city has at its disposal. 19 The distribution of this budget is very uneven. Of the eight cultural centres managed by this department of the Cape Town Council, six are located in the most privileged areas of the city, and only two in townships, where more than half of Cape Town’s inhabitants live. The first of these two, located in Delft township, is run by the Rainbow Art Organization, which had to resort to occupying a vacant building to force the Council to turn it into a cultural centre. The second, the Guga S’Thebe Cultural Centre, was built in 2000 in the township of Langa as part of a national policy to fund “community arts centres” (Hagg 2010). But due to a lack of funding, as well as hesitations and tensions as to whether it should be a city-run tourist attraction or a cultural centre run by and for the Langa “community,” the goal of making the building a cultural heart of the city was never brought to fruition. Today, the Guga S’thebe is like the 202 community centres owned by the city, which range from well-equipped gymnasiums to simple tin shacks, and which are generally compared to “empty shells,” used by volunteers and associations to organize cultural activities of all kinds but without any specific programming.

16In these different contexts, all marked by a certain institutional closedness that favours legitimate culture, it is ultimately private initiatives, whether commercial or non-commercial, that attempt to respond to shortcomings in terms of expression, representation, and recognition of the residents of segregated neighbourhoods. In Cape Town, the almost total lack of cultural, sports or even social policies for township residents forces activists to adopt their own means of action. They may do this by squatting/building their own spaces, by seeking the help of international and humanitarian NGOs, and/or by allying themselves with commercial enterprises, notably in the tourism sector and the new digital economy (Airbnb, YouTube, etc.). In Salvador and Toulouse, calls for projects have become the dominant mode of public intervention for neighbourhood associations. In the cultural field, the Research and Cultural Development Department (DRDC) of the City Council of Toulouse is responsible for piloting various partnerships in the area of “cultural experimentation,” promoting “cultural openness and critical thinking,” “access to works of art and all modes of artistic expression,” “diversity of practices,” etc. It thus complements the actions of the state, the region, and the European Union, as well as certain NGOs which, like the Fondation Abbé Pierre, contribute to the cultural actions of associations as part of improving living conditions and togetherness. For example, the Salvador City Council and the State of Bahia set up calls for tenders with budgets corresponding to specific types of culture (circus, music, theatre, or Afro block, for example) or for commemorative events (anniversary of the City of Salvador, Carnival, reggae day, etc.). In all cases, to varying degrees, cultural movements operate via public tenders and/or private sponsors, striving to generate and/or mobilize their own resources.

2. Cultural Movements in Segregated Neighbourhoods: between Struggles for Recognition and Demands for Redistribution

17In a context where urban governments are delegating more and more of their prerogatives to outside operators, in the name of competitiveness and attractiveness, and more prosaically of budgetary rigor (Brenner & Theodore 2002; Harvey 1989), cultural movements are called upon to occupy an increasingly important role in cultural activities and entertainment in segregated neighbourhoods. In addition to the cultural programming by theatres or museums, and the “cultural leisure” activities that are more or less relegated to community centres, their initiatives have become a complementary service. They are indeed able to respond to certain shortcomings in representing and targeting the populations whose tastes, memories, and imaginaries are not recognized by cultural and socio-cultural institutions.

  • 20 According to the analysis by the philosopher Nancy Fraser (1999), a demand for redistribution cons (...)

18This position is similar to that of the “insurrectionaries” identified by James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen (2010), insofar as the cultural movements in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse seek to change the rules and practices of the institutional game by integrating themselves into the local public policy system in order to benefit from its resources. However, it is important to distinguish between cultural and political recognition on the one hand, and social and economic redistribution on the other; even though their logics may be complementary, their orientations remain different.20 In Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse, movements may receive institutional recognition for their demands, and their social actions may benefit from redistributive funding, but rarely both at the same time.

2. 1. Cultural Movements as “Insurgent” Actors

19The residents of these neighbourhoods are not merely passively subject to the segregative logics imposed on them; they are also able to resist by producing forms of expression and ways of living that fit with their conditions, their experiences, and their perspectives on the world. Drawing on various forms of art (carnival, theatre, music, cinema, etc.) and culture (cooking, journalism, sport, etc.) cultural movements seek to affirm and obtain public recognition, if not for other ways of living and creating, then at least for the ability of populations to “participate in cultural life” and transform it. In this respect, their actions are close to what Nancy Fraser calls “subaltern counterpublics” which constitute both spaces of contestation but also foundations for the spread of counter discourses towards broader arenas. It also evokes what the socio-anthropologist James Holston (1999:47) calls “insurgent citizenship,” like the popular mobilizations and everyday practices that he studies on the margins of Brazilian urban public spaces, cultural movements break away from cultural norms to “parody, derail, or subvert state programmes” and expand lived citizenship into new areas.

20The Khayelitsha Art School and Rehabilitation Centre (KASI-RC) is a small theatre made of corrugated iron and planks, in Cape Town. It was built under the initiative of Mandisi Sindo, an actor and director living in the Khayelitsha township, one of the biggest in South Africa. Born in 1989, Mandisi discovered theatre during an initiation run by an NGO (Ikhwezi Theatre company) at his primary school. When he reached senior high school, he created a community drama group with some friends. In 2007, tired of rehearsing outside and not having access to the community hall (where the manager illegally made people pay for renting the space), the group set out to clear out an area that had been used as a dump. They built a shack that became their rehearsal space. Mandisi Sindo continued his involvement with this project when he went on to study theatre and performance art. Between 2008 and 2011 he studied at the prestigious Cape Town University, specialising in “Community Theatre Making.” In 2012 he transformed his informal theatre group into an NGO (Theatre for Change) and created Makukhanye shack theatre with ambitious goals:

Cape Town it’s very much segregated, there’s a lot of racism, a lot of exploitation towards black people and by us building these spaces we’re trying our best to demolish and also fight back, we are looking for unity, we’re looking for change, that’s why the company itself it’s called Theatre for Change, so by building these spaces we’re trying our best to bring change within our communities. (Interview with Mandisi Sindo, 9th February 2019)

21This space is primarily used to organize artistic activities for children after school, or for young unemployed people, or people who have dropped out of school. On the weekends and public holidays there are performances, and sometimes events or conferences like Black Art & Communities at Heart (BACAH), presented as “decolonial conversations in a space where it matters.” Although they sometimes obtain financial support from NGOs or public and private theatres, Mandisi and his wife Liso fund most of these activities out of their own money, and must therefore juggle several jobs—acting, singing, directing, dubbing, working as extras or TV presenters for local stations, etc. They also draw on the network that they have built in the years since their studies at Cape Town University to borrow IT or sound equipment, lighting, and so forth. These networks also allow them to attract well-known figures and even tourists. In 2017 they created the Khayelitsha Art School & Rehabilitation Centre (KASI-RC), in another part of the township.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Poster of a conference of Black Art & Communities at Heart (BACAH), 2019.

Source: KASI-RC.

22In Salvador, Jussara Santana has developed the association Aspiral do reggae to promote reggae music over the last twenty years. Initially the project was linked to her husband, Kamaphew Tawa, and his need for a band and a place to play reggae. It was also linked to the desire to create a cultural and political space to valorize this musique, and the way of life and the emancipation of the African diaspora that it represents.

23In 2018, after repeated demands to the Secretariat of the State of Bahia, she was granted management of a public space on the edges of the historical tourist centre of Pelourinho. There she created the Casa Cultural reggae, and the association rapidly became a family affair. Kamaphew and Jussara’s children were part of the first wave of rap artists from Salvador, and were responsible for communication on social networks, while Jussara focused on logistics, production, and the promotion of artists. With other activists, she organized concerts and discussions on the heroes of the Black pantheon, but also workshops on hairstyles (turbans) or rasta philosophy (rastology), to highlight a culture that is part of the Black diaspora:

We sell craftwork, bags, T-shirts and all that, we do that to be able to pay the team who helps us, and the musicians. Recently it has been really great, because we have this space in which to develop all that. [because] Since 2019, we’ve really been struggling because there isn’t really government assistance for that anymore. There was just a call for projects from the Council to make Salvador a “reggae town,” for which we got 15,000 reais but we still haven’t received them […] It is July, and we still haven’t received the 15,000. We have to pay the sound equipment, the musicians… it’s hard but we manage to keep up… and make the music we believe in.” (Interview with Jussara Santana, 4th July 2022)

Revenue from ticket sales or food donation campaigns, along with the sale of craft beer and other drinks during concerts have become essential for the survival of the project, while the free use of the space partly compensates for the Council’s delay in paying the association.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Jussara Santana, Kamaphew Tawá and the band Aspiral do Reggae, on the scene of Casa Cultural Reggae, 2019.

Source: Julie Lourau.

24In Toulouse, the history of the Tactikollectif association begins in 1997 when young people from the working-class neighbourhood, les Izards (identified by the French state as a priority area since the early 1980s), decided to break away from the town Council. Fifteen years earlier, Magyd Cherfi and the brothers Hakim, Mustapha, and Salah Amokrane, had set up the Vitécri association in a context where national government “cultural democracy” policies sought to be more in tune with cultural and artistic activities created by “young people from immigrant backgrounds.” Involved in the five protest marches for equalitiy and against racism in the early 1980s to draw attention to problems of racism and discrimination, under the name Convergence 84, they launched various sociocultural activities to mobilize people from their neighbourhood. Between 1991 and 1994 they organized the festival “Ça bouge au Nord” which combined concerts and events with headlining acts such as Manu Chao, Noir Désir, or Linton Kwesi Johnson. But some found these initiatives disturbing; the group was accused of “communitarianism,” or even mafia management by Toulouse City Council. In response, members of the association ran at the local elections in 1995, on an independent ticket, and won 4.8% of the votes. This score encouraged them to break free from institutional constraints. The commercial success of the band Zebda, set up by Magyd Cherfi and the brothers Hakim and Mustapha Amokrane, gave them a certain financial independence and they were able to move away from the organization of sociocultural events to focus on their own political and cultural orientations. With other activists from the northern neighbourhoods they created the association Tactikollectif, “for us, it was no longer possible to be restricted in what we were able to say, in free expression, in our positions, by questions of funding or subsidies…” (Interview with Salah Amokrane, 28th February 2019). Since then, the association has become more professional in the organization of cultural and music events, particularly with the festival “Ca bouge…encore” organized in 2001 and 2002, and since 2004 the “Origines Controlées” festival which highlights the struggles of working-class neighbourhoods and the cultural heritage of immigration through meetings and discussions and multidisciplinary artistic programming.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Poster of the 13th edition of the festival “Origines Contrôlées,” 2016.

Source: Tactikollectif.

2. 2. Cultural Rights for Residents of Segregated Neighbourhoods—the Challenge of Public Support

25The ability of cultural movements to achieve recognition for the cultural rights for residents in segregated neighbourhoods in Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse, must be seen in light of the means they have at their disposal. In this respect, the legacy of colonization goes well beyond simple representations. It has material impacts through the situation of domination that these racialized and ethnicized populations are overwhelmingly subject to in social relations of production. In South Africa, the end of apartheid clearly meant a considerable step forward in terms of political rights and rights to cultural representation, but socio-economic inequalities nevertheless continued to follow racial lines. This was particularly the case in Cape Town, which some observers did not hesitate to call a “neo-apartheid city” (Peberdy & Mazibuko 2011). In Brazil, although there is no history of racial laws, that has not prevented persistent discrimination, whether in the workplace, in security, in housing, or in access to education (Almeida 2018). And although the situation of Afro-descendants is probably more advantageous in France, in terms of their material and social situations, these populations are still the main victims of discrimination in housing and recruitment (Beauchemin et al. 2010).

26Generally speaking, although “one cannot deduce maldistribution directly from misrecognition, nor misrecognition directly from maldistribution” (Fraser 1999) there is a close relationship between the socio-economic situations of racialized populations and respect for their cultural rights in market societies like Brazil, France, or South Africa. In Toulouse, recognition of cultural rights in working-class neighbourhoods is seen as suspicious on two levels. Firstly, it is accused of fostering communitarianism, a lack of openness, and a sort of proselytism that threatens the universality of cultural values, and secondly it is charged with negating the specificity of artistic creation, put on the same level as tradition or religion. This mistrust is used to justify delays and avoidances from councillors in Toulouse.

The municipal representatives appropriate this notion differently, and we, as professionals, don’t all agree either… but we don’t have directives or orders to launch such a large project, even though, necessarily, it is a question that is implicitly very present. (Interview with the Director of Research and Cultural Development [DRDC], Toulouse City Council and Toulouse Metropole, 29th May 2021)

27In other parts of France, cultural rights have long been the object of debate and research-actions (Aubry & Blouët 2022). Since 2015 in particular, the reforms to territorial organization (the NOTRe law, nouvelle organisation territoriale de la république) have encouraged local authorities to respect and promote cultural rights. But although each local representative, each mayor, is encouraged to propose this kind of action, the City Council of Toulouse has kept its distance from this trend. Despite having a large budget for subsidies, around 7 million euro in 2019 for the DRDC (around 400 applications per year), the municipality continues to prioritize artistic creation and functional assistance for professional companies, as part of a logic based on excellence and territorial attractiveness.

28In Brazil, the Lula government tried to promote the constitutional directives concerning cultural rights. Since 2014 the Cultural Viva programme has facilitated administrative procedures to support cultural groups in the periferias. However, although these policies were weakened under the Bolsonaro government, financial support for “afro culture” is above all part of a strategy to attract tourism (Lourau 2016). Thus, in Salvador Afro-descendant culture plays an important role in the image the town wants to develop, but every year the participation of the Afro-descendent groups in the carnival is uncertain because the public funding intended for them is never guaranteed (Martins 2017). In a municipal context where more than 80% of the population says they are black or mixed-race in the national census, the conservative liberal right maintains an ambiguous attitude towards Afro-Brazilian cultures in Salvador. On the one hand, Afro-descendent cultures and people are constantly targeted by public authorities (Bernardo 2006), and on the other, Afro-Brazilian (or other Afro-descendent cultural expressions) sometimes benefit from high-powered sponsors. This can be seen in the case of ACM Neto’s grandfather, who was governor of Bahia State under the dictatorship and who protected a terreiro de candomblé (the temple of the Afro-Brazilian religion he attended) from the repression he himself enforced against the rest of the black population.

29In Cape Town, the recognition of the cultural abilities of people living in townships remains equally conditional on them contributing to economic development, particularly tourism. This reflects the “revised” version of the White Paper on Arts and Culture 1996, commissioned by the Minister of Arts and Culture in 2015 and edited in 201721. The latter, incarnating an approach to cultural diversity inspired by human rights, sought to promote the Mzansi Golden Economy MGE strategy launched in 2011 to develop cultural industries and exploit the “golden economy of traditional South Africa”22. The tensions between these two approaches can be seen at the municipal level if we look at the successive movements of the Arts and Culture branch in the general organizational chart of the City Council. In 2011, for example, the Arts and Culture Unit went from social development to the tourism events and marketing directorate, in other words “from a social prism to an economic prism” (interview with R. Jutzen, manager of the Arts and Culture Branch, 25th April 2022). In 2014, the branch became a department in its own right and implemented a new cultural policy with the goal of developing an economic approach focused on tourism and creative industries more broadly. In this respect it reinforced its alignment with the MGE strategy. But in 2016, culture once more retuned to being merely a branch of the social development department, an indication of the difficulties this municipal policy has remaining durably independent.

2. 3. Activism and Cultural Entrepreneurs

30Given that in these contexts, residents in segregated neighbourhoods are kept away from decision-making and the logics governing cultural policies, if not from the subsidies themselves, activists in Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse do not have any other choice but to spend a lot of time looking for funding so that their organizations can function. They must also promote their cultural and artistic knowledge and expertise to try and influence patrons and sponsors of all kinds. This is particularly the case for Mandisi and Liso Sindo who use their skills for the benefit of residents of Khayelitsha, skills they acquired through university study and by working with international theatre companies. Although Mandisi is adept at using activist language and anti-capitalist, de-colonialist rhetoric, because of his involvement in student movements like PASMA (Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania), #Rhodes Must Fall and #Fees Must Fall which developed after 2015, he also knows how to use more entrepreneurial rhetoric. He is very comfortable with social networks (he has more than 82,700 followers on TikTok); he constantly posts comical sketches to attract followers and promote the work of his NGO, his clothes brand, his recording studio, and his wife’s most recent albums. On his various networks he incites young people to create their own “alternative artistic spaces and shack theatres” because it is the success of these spaces that will “show government there is a need for this kind of space in the townships” (interview with Mandisi Sindo, 9th February 2019). And although Mandisi does not hesitate to criticize Cape Town’s inaction or demonstrate outside the National Arts Council (NAC) to condemn corruption, some of his artistic projects nevertheless receive financial support from that institution.

Figure 4

Figure 4

The Khayelitsha Art School and Rehabilitation Centre (KASI-RC), 2019.

Source: KASI-RC.

  • 23 This slogan is a reference to the Capitole, a Toulousain monument that houses the Town Hall and th (...)

31In Toulouse, activists from the Tactikollectif association chose direct political confrontation with the municipal Council, renewing their engagement by running for election again in 2001. Their list, Motivé‑e‑s, headed by Salah Amokrane, aimed to “beat the right” and be a voice for residents in working class neighbourhoods. In spite of racist attacks (“no Arabs in the Capitole”23) their list won 12.4% of the vote in the first round, which allowed it to compete in the second round as part of the unified list “Toulouse on the move” (which united the socialist party, the French Communist Party, the radical left party, the movement, and the greens) and ultimately to win four seats on the town Council. This political engagement has allowed Tactikollectif to have an impact on public decisions and be taken seriously.

It’s a bit presumptuous to say, but we do good work. So, if not only do you have an influence on power relations but at the same time, you’re serious and you get results, it becomes very difficult to get rid of you, and it creates a different kind of relationship. (Interview with Salah Amokrane, 28th February 2019)

  • 24 In 1997 he obtained a degree in territory, planning, and development from Toulouse University Le M (...)

32The association is still obliged to apply for funding for its activities, however, from public bodies (such as the Departmental and Regional councils, general commissioner for territorial equality, or the Regional Office of Cultural Affairs [DRAC]) or from the private sector (such as the Fondation Abbé Pierre), which supposes increasingly substantial project engineering. To meet this challenge Salah went back to university,24 which allowed him to work for four years as a development officer at the Regional Council, and to become familiar with the intricacies of local administrative and political power. The association is also increasing the number of civil service missions in digital communication and has hired a project manager.

Figure 5

Figure 5

The association Tactikollectif in 1993.

Source: Tactikollectif.

33In Salvador, the “perverse confluence” (Dagnino 2014) of the late 1980s, combining “re- democratization” and “neoliberal development,” led to the cultural demands of certain groups being ignored when they did not follow the contours of the tourist sector or large-scale music production. In this context, Jussara Santana was able to obtain support from the town council by relying on particular councillors and on the movement for the defence of civil rights for black citizens (movimento negro). Along with other activists she secured funding that would otherwise not have been allocated to this kind of music, which suffers from Bahia’s prejudice against Rastafarians. Santana, initially a nurse, went back to study social communication even while she was participating in the activities of the CONEN (Coordenação Nacional de Entidades Negras), an association that worked to defend civil rights in the Afro-descendant population. This involvement in activism provided her with allies in the municipal council and the Secretariat for Culture in the state of Bahia, and sometimes even at the national level. Under the Dilma Rousseff government, these alliances led to the establishment of a “National Day of Reggae,” on 11th May, the anniversary of Bob Marley’s death.

Support is always hard to find, and it is even more difficult to find it for reggae… but we’re winning our struggle… with the town councillors, the representatives of the state of Bahia whom I am in contact with, the secretariat for women’s policy, the secretariat of the promotion of racial equality… it is not always in monetary terms. It could be a plane ticket, or sound equipment… (Interview with Jussara Santana, 4th July 2022)

Figure 6

Figure 6

The Casa Cultural Reggae, 2022.

Source: Lionel Arnaud.

  • 25 The Municipal Council of Black Communities was set up by ACM Neto. He was appointed advisor to the (...)

34For eight years, Jussara Santana has been a member of the Conselho Municipal das Comunidades Negras (CMCN)25 which is made up of elected municipal officials and representatives of civil society, where she holds the chair dedicated to reggae:

We see the problems and we raise them, so that the City Council can try to solve them. I’m always talking about the municipal reggae day because it’s a law and the City Council has the obligation to take it into account, to do tribute sessions, to provide support… (Interview with Jussara Santana, 4th July 2022)

Jussara Santana’s work plays out on multiple repertoires. It has a political aspect, through work demanding rights for Salvador’s black population; it has an educational aspect, by launching cultural events to foster emancipation; and it has a communicational aspect, to spread and promote the actions carried out around reggae culture.


35By supporting various projects to enhance the cultural expression of residents in segregated neighbourhoods, KASI-RC, Casa Cultural Reggae, and the Tactikollectif association help to legitimize an alternative way of making cultural policies, based on the rights of individuals and groups to cultural self-determination. But their participation in the cultural life of Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse is nevertheless dependent on the frameworks constructed by national and local institutions, which guide their objectives and possible funding according to patterns inscribed in the history and administrative routines that are specific to each national and local system of public action (Pierson 1993). From the point of view of political science, the influence of these cultural movements therefore only concerns secondary aspects of the belief systems of elected officials and professionals, which Paul Sabatier and Hank Jenkins-Smith (1999) identify as the instruments and theories of action. But it does not modify the set of strategies and political demands linked to the realization of the ‘policy core’ of the local public policy system, and still less its ‘deep core’, that is the fundamental normative values it is based on. This result therefore tends to moderate these three cultural movements’ capacity for “programmatic” influence.

36Nevertheless, a progressive change can be seen in the extent that the activists we spoke to seek to adapt to institutions in order to promote their actions and spread their knowledge, their aesthetic, and their ideas. Unlike the “insurgent” actor who openly and exclusively defends a political approach, who does not follow the rules of the institution, and who seeks to revolutionize the status quo (Mahoney & Thelen 2010), Salah Amokrane, Jussara Santana, and Mandisi Sindo, attempt to “fit into the right [legal and budgetary] boxes,” which implies considering public policy not as an opponent but as a partner, as something that is necessary for them to accomplish their work. For better or worse, they adapt or even convert to the political and economic context that values risk-taking, looking for opportunities, innovation, and creativity, and which implies a need to develop “management” skills to ensure the development and longevity of their “business.” The creative solutions that these cultural movements provide to the problems encountered by residents of segregated neighbourhoods provide a way of addressing the shortcomings of the state and local government in terms of human rights, public services, and individual freedoms. All this in a context where Brazilian, French, and South African public policy seeks above all to reduce spending and externalize its action through the use of commercial tenders.

37In Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse, the ability of these movements to influence public policy ultimately remains exogeneous, in that they are heavily dependent on their own capacities for action, organization, and epistemic influence. Although they have developed in historical, political, socio-economical, and geographical environments that are very different, these initiatives come up against institutional and ideological resistances that are surprisingly similar, and their modes of action clearly converge. Whether they rely on subsidies or on their own commercial success, whether they are situated in a periferia, a priority neighbourhood, or a township, much of the energy these activists invest goes to attracting resources, which requires political knowledge and expertise as well as skills in management and communication. For Jussara Santana, Mandisi Sindo, and Salah Amokrane and the associations they represent, the challenge is to hold their cultural and political line while showing that they are able to adapt to the administrative and management requirements of their environment. The type of change that they seek essentially involves action on and through culture, through the use and promotion of alternative knowledge, expertise, lifestyles, and aesthetics. This is a change that involves “layering” to use the expression of Mahoney and Thelen (2010: 25), in that it contributes to spreading new values and new rules alongside, rather than against, those in place. In these three cities, the systems of public policy beliefs and those of cultural movements ultimately remain very different. Because they are not integrated into local policy systems, cultural activists in segregated neighbourhoods in Cape Town, Salvador, and Toulouse continue to refer to different kinds of legitimacy than those valued by public authorities and to occupy disconnected spaces and rationalities.

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1 In terms of public policy analysis, the programmatic approach aims to re-evaluate the strategic and cognitive role of collective actors, and move beyond both explanations of change that are primarily exogenous, and a vision that emphasizes the impact of institutions and past choices on current decisions (Genieys & Hassenteufel 2013).

2 Among other things, France has not ratified the European Charter on Minority Languages, which it signed in 1999.

3 Understood here as fluctuating groups with claims to a shared ethnic, linguistic, or social belonging.

4 Website of the Fondation Palmarès, consulted on 11th March 2022.

5 Priority neighbourhoods for city policy (Les quartiers prioritaires de la politique de la ville [QPV]) refer to neighbourhoods in which residents face numerous difficulties and where there is a gap between their economic and social development and that of the rest of the agglomeration. Because of this, they benefit from specific intervention projects under city policy.

6 City council of Toulouse website consulted on 12th December 12, 2020.

7 City council of Toulouse. La Culture en mouvement. Le projet culturel pour Toulouse 2009-2014, 2009.

8 Toulouse Métropole & City council of Toulouse. Toulouse, savoirs & imaginaires. Perspectives culturelles 2017-2020. Un enjeu de société, une ambition pour le territoire. 2nd edition, 2018.

9 Charte Engagement Culture – Politique de la ville 2017-2020 État-Toulouse Métropole. (Musée des Abattoirs, les théâtres municipaux, Centre de Développement Chorégraphique, Centre d’Art, La Gainerie).

10 Website of the Secretariat of Culture in Bahia, consulted on 30th June 2022.

11 In Salvador, the term periphery is used by urbanists, geographers, or sociologists to refer to relegated spaces. These are often, but not always, removed from the centre, and characterized by a lack of access to urban public policy (sewage systems, transport, security, and infrastructures for health, education, and culture).

12 Renamed União in 2021 following its merger with the Parti Social Libéral (PSL).

13 ACM Neto belongs to an important family in Bahia. He is the grandson of an ex-governor of the state, Antônio Carlos Magalhães, who was in power between 2003-2007, during the dictatorship.

14 “The SNC [Sistema nacional de Cultura] is a management system (…) organized as a collaborative regime, decentralized and participative, with the goal of promoting human, social, and economic development in the full exercize of cultural rights.” Website of the Special secretariat of culture / Ministry of Tourism, Consulted on 15th July 2022.

15 The Plano Nacional de Cultura (PNC) implements cultural public policies according to the principles of the SNC.

16 Cadastro Organizacional de la Saltur, Salvador Tourist Office, consulted on 3rd July 2022.

17 Minty Zayd, “The People’s Cultural Policy”, blog Creative City South, online, 1st March 2018, accessed on 14th July 2022.

18 Generally speaking, major public cultural facilities such as the Artscape Theatre Centre and the Baxter Theatre pay little attention to segregated neighbourhoods. They are managed by the National Minister for Arts and Culture and by Cape Town University respectively and are situated in zones where the majority of the population is white and wealthy. And although these facilities also run outreach programs and make some room for residents of the townships in their programming, these initiatives remain marginal.

19 This can be partly explained by the fact that in South Africa culture is a provincial and national responsibility, an “unfunded mandate” for which municipalities do not receive subsidies.

20 According to the analysis by the philosopher Nancy Fraser (1999), a demand for redistribution consists in demanding a correction of inequalities in resources, or even, if taken to its logical extreme, to simply abolish relations of economic exploitation. A demand for recognition, on the other hand, consists in demanding the end of status-based inequalities, by transforming cultural conditions for the depreciation of identities in order to escape from indifference or social contempt.

21 Department of Arts & Culture, Revised White Paper on Arts, Culture And Heritage. Third draft, 2017.

22 Department of Arts & Culture, Mzanzi’s Golden Economy: Consultative Conference—14 to 15 April 2011 Conference Declaration, 2011.

23 This slogan is a reference to the Capitole, a Toulousain monument that houses the Town Hall and the Toulouse Opera.

24 In 1997 he obtained a degree in territory, planning, and development from Toulouse University Le Mirail (currently Toulouse University Jean-Jaurès), and in 2008 he obtained a Master in Cultural Development and project management from Lyon-2 Lumière University.

25 The Municipal Council of Black Communities was set up by ACM Neto. He was appointed advisor to the Semur (Municipal Secretariat for Reparations) in its goal of promoting racial equality, social inclusion for Afro-descendants, and promoting diversity.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1
Légende Poster of a conference of Black Art & Communities at Heart (BACAH), 2019.
Crédits Source: KASI-RC.
Fichier image/png, 3,5M
Titre Figure 2
Légende Jussara Santana, Kamaphew Tawá and the band Aspiral do Reggae, on the scene of Casa Cultural Reggae, 2019.
Crédits Source: Julie Lourau.
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 3
Légende Poster of the 13th edition of the festival “Origines Contrôlées,” 2016.
Crédits Source: Tactikollectif.
Fichier image/jpeg, 450k
Titre Figure 4
Légende The Khayelitsha Art School and Rehabilitation Centre (KASI-RC), 2019.
Crédits Source: KASI-RC.
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Titre Figure 5
Légende The association Tactikollectif in 1993.
Crédits Source: Tactikollectif.
Fichier image/jpeg, 216k
Titre Figure 6
Légende The Casa Cultural Reggae, 2022.
Crédits Source: Lionel Arnaud.
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,1M
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Lionel Arnaud, Léo Fortaillier et Julie Lourau, « Promoting “Cultural Rights” for Inhabitants of Segregated Neighbourhoods in Cape Town, Salvador de Bahia, and Toulouse. From “Cultural Insurrection” to Epistemic Action »Biens Symboliques / Symbolic Goods [En ligne], 13 | 2023, mis en ligne le 18 décembre 2023, consulté le 23 février 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Lionel Arnaud

University professor in sociology at the University Paul Sabatier-Toulouse 3, Social Sciences of Politics research centre (LaSSP) / IEP de Toulouse

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Léo Fortaillier

PhD candidate in sociology at the University Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, at the Social Sciences of Politics research centre (LaSSP) / IEP de Toulouse

Julie Lourau

Professor, anthropologist, Catholic University of Salvador (Brazil), Department of social policies and citizenship

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-SA 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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