The emergence of cultural policy in Zimbabwe 1984-1997
The thesis re-presents the lived experience of cultural animation and policy production in postcolonial Zimbabwe, seeking to place these observations and theories in the domain of Cultural Policy Studies. The nation was in transition from oracy to literacy and from colonial control to socialist independence. Cultural workers in Bulawayo were very productive after Independence without apparently being aware of any policies. How, then, did things get done? The initial premise was that people living in oral cultures were always able to discuss plans and implement decisions, and that endogenous and exogenous influences (theorised as memes) were incorporated experimentally in a cultural bricolage. Part One introduces the pre-policy context of cultural change in precolonial and postcolonial situations, theorises cultural change at a micro level in terms of memetics and explains the methodology of multiple case studies. Part Two looks for origins of cultural concepts in 19th century white-authored journals and 20th century revolutionary texts and presents a critical analysis of formal documents controlling cultural policy since Independence. The importance of plurilingualism, translation and literacy in interactions between social actors is examined. Part Three provides empirical evidence to refine the original proposition in a detailed synchronic study of local cultural praxis. Discourse analysis of conflict and consensus operating at grassroots level is followed by accounts of the increasing management capacity of some groups as they become professional performers in international arenas. Contrasting instances of individual and communal animation are found in the development of institutions. Part Four discusses the role of dynamic oral policies in cultural action both in a pre-policy situation and in the implementation of documented policy in a democratising polity. The thesis also has potential for its theoretical findings to be applied in different national contexts of development and beyond cultural policy to other spheres where an increasing volume of policy initiatives challenges the people charged with their implementation.
- PhD