ROSSANA REGUILLO: “CULTURAL DIVERSITY IS POLITICALLY USEFUL AND SOCIALLY PERTINENT”
Today at the Forum, experts in the relationship between communication and cultural diversity exchange experiences in the opening session of the Dialogue “Communication and Cultural diversity.” Thomas Tufte of the University of Copenhagen and Rossana Reguillo, of the Technological Institute and Higher Studies of the West of Jalisco, Mexico, open the dialogue that will count on the participation of 125 boards.
Within the framework of a new world sphere of “the dwindling of critical thought,” according to Rossana Reguillo, we have to focus on the origin of the concept of diversity. In this sense, Reguillo explained that “our look to the other, to the different one, has turned into an obsession and has become associated to remoteness, distance.” In a world that is becoming more and more globalized, this distance is getting closer and closer which is why “otherness is considered a threat.”
Reguillo stated that this threat becomes a stereotype and a metaphor in the media, and she pointed out that “there is a demonization and victimization of that which is different” in public spaces. For the Reguillo, it is important to “respect differences in relation to their context and to the pact of sociability.” For Reguillo, the large social problems exist because we go “from our intimate world to the political world without passing through a phase of sociability.”
Likewise, Rossana Reguillo explained that “there is a perverse relationship between visibility, the media, and social movements.” For many social movements, “the success of the movement lies precisely in its visibility in the media, but this visibility should not be exaggerated.” Reguillo said that we have to do more political work in reference to the other, otherwise, “we run a risk of making cultural diversity into a mere show.”
Danish, Thomas Tufte, explained the importance of communication in certain AIDS-related policies, environmental degradation and terrorism. In this sense, Tufte said that “AIDS is the product and cause of globalization, today, AIDS can affect anyone.” Tufte explained some of the experiments that have been carried out to change certain habits and behaviour in relation to the HIV virus. In this sense, Tufte pointed out that in spite of certain countries, like Africa, where there is more information, this doesn’t represent a change in behaviour. For Tufte, the solution is “in having a broader vision of the virus; we should attack deeper causes related with the disease such as unemployment or poverty.”
With regard to the ways of making these problems known, Tufte emphasized that there are discrepancies between the seriousness of the epidemics and the silence in which many communities remain, deficiencies in the ways in which the people affected by the disease relate to the information made available in the media, and the contradictions between the campaign messages and the real needs of people who have the disease.
In order to overcome the discrepancy between the media and the public, Thomas Tufte proposed a series of solutions based on participatory strategies that include communicative strategies and a rights-based approach, as well as the appropriateness of contents and a deeper understanding of public affairs.
“We must create a public debate and bring about change to address economic and social inequalities in order to solve the problems related to AIDS and development”, pointed Tufte. “Communication for social change is becoming a very popular view for tackling this”, he added.