Access to Culture in Brazil

Show at Criança Esperança Centre - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The links between Culture and human rights, as well as the role of Culture in fighting discrimination, are issues Brazil has been trying to face. Nevertheless, the integration of Culture with other social policies is a recent experience which still calls for improvement.

It is now time to recognize cultural rights as a basic need and a right of citizens and that indicates the need to pursue an agenda integrated to social policies and development policies.

Despite the recent trends, the impacts have not been sufficient to reduce inequalities regarding access to cultural production and, hence it is crucial to pay extra care to prevent economic growth from exacerbating such inequalities even further.

Inequalities in access to cultural production:

  • Entertainement: the minority of Brazilians go to the cinema at least once a year. Almost all Brazilians have never been to a museum nor have ever visited an art exhibition. The majority of the municipalities do not have a cinema, theatre, museum or multiuse cultural spaces.
  • Books and Libraries: Brazilians  barely have reading habits. Most of the books are in the hands of only few. Book prices are high if compared to the income of Brazilians belonging to C/D/E social classes. Many Brazilian municipalities have no library, almost all of these are located in the Northeast region of the country, while only two are in the Southeast.
  • Access to Internet: A very high percentage of Brazilians have no personal computer at home, and within that group the majority have absolutely no access to Internet (either at work, or in school).
  • Cultural Professionals: Half of the population working in the field of culture are not in regular employment or are self-employed. (Source: Ministry of CultureIBGE - IPEA).

By focusing cultural policies on the state and local levels, it could be possible to have an assistance in overcoming the inequality on the access to culture and in reinforcing cultural diversity as a relevant factor in the sustainability of development.

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