• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the policies directed towards the indigenous people of Latin-America during the twentieth cen

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the policies directed towards the indigenous people of Latin-America during the twentieth cen The post-Columbian history of Latin America has been marked by the social, cultural and geographical marginalisation of indigenous people, initially with respect to Iberian born, and later to criollo (American born hispanic) and increasingly mestizo (mixed race), inhabitants. The term indigenismo (indigenism), which has become a dominant ideological tool throughout much of Latin America during the twentieth century, would seem to indicate a break with this history and a move towards recognition of the value of indigenous culture and society. In reality, however, the use of indigenismo in terms of official policies has not been so straightforward. It is necessary to make clear what is meant by indigenismo in the context of this discussion before the application and effect of such policies in individual states is examined and the true nature of indigenismo as an ideology can be evaluated. Although ideas about the centrality of indigenous history, particularly pre-Columbian, to ideas of modern nationhood have been around since the mid to late nineteenth century, for the purposes of this study indigenismo is best viewed as an historical category, having emerged in Mexico in the wake of the 1910 revolution, due largely to the efforts of the archaeologist/anthropologist Manuel Gamio (1883-1960), and subsequently spread over the rest of Latin America after the 1940s (Lima 1993). While it is true that the various brands of indigenismo employed at different times and in different countries has varied considerably, this definition effectively delineates the debate as well as allowing scope for discussion of both similarities and significant differences between such policies in individual states. ...read more.

Middle

According to him, "regardless of the reform's failings and underlying agendas, Velasco was, and still is, viewed by many peasants as a liberator and ally against the landowners" (p.273). Likewise Stroebele Gregor (1990) says of post-revolutionary Bolivia, "the achievements of the revolution- citizenship for former Indians and agrarian reform- and the populism of the MNR bound the peasants to this party and the state" (p.218). It is clear, then, that while indigenismo policies have sought to ensure the absorption of indigenous identity by all citizens of a given nation (Malverde and Canessa 1995), and to improve the living conditions of indigenous people, they have done so as part of a drive to homogenize the populace. The implications of this fact in terms of race, culture and ethnicity must now be discussed. While 'racial approximation' was stated to be one of the foundations of Manuel Gamio's romantic Mexican nationalism, race in itself has tended not to be an explicit part of indigenismo either in Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America. Gamio, indeed, subscribed to the view of the anthropologist Franz Boas that, contrary to Social Darwinist views much favoured at the time, race had no use as an analytical category and was best replaced by the concept of culture. The apparent backwardness of contemporary Indians could therefore be "attributed to their poor diet, their lack of education, their material poverty, and their isolation from the stimulus of national life" (Brading 1988, 79) and was thus remediable by integration into the Mexican nation. Inasmuch as the philosophy of indigenismo does not explicitly entail racial discrimination, however, it undoubtedly does entail cultural discrimination. This is justified by the assertion of the cultural superiority of the European invaders and the belief that, while the indigenous people were ...read more.

Conclusion

that "education can be read as 'bolivianisation'". Likewise, in Ecuador, while "those who have received a formal education have a sense of themselves as Ecuadorians which is firmly rooted in a significant pre-Columbian past" (Stutzman 1981, p.58), the present day culture which they are prepared for is essentially European (ibid). Aronowitz (1987) neatly sums up the reality of nationalistic school systems within Latin American countries, stating that, through education, "a notion of geographical and cultural territoriality is constructed in a hierarchy of domination and subordination marked by a centre and margin legitimated through the civilising knowledge/power of a privileged Eurocentric culture" (p.112). While policies of indigenismo may vary considerably throughout Latin America, the similarities are far more profound; all varieties are characterised by an emphasis on nationalism and integration into an essentially hispanic, European culture. While citizenship for indigenous people and land reform have meant improvements in the material conditions of rural Indians, they have also served to bond these people to the state. Furthermore, the glorification of a largely invented Indian past based around mestizaje as the embodiment of national identity and consolidated by the perfunctory acceptance of indigenous art-forms has served both to obscure and to facilitate the destruction of contemporary Indian ways of life. This destruction has been compounded by the nationalist education of the indigenous rural youth. While the nature of policies aimed at indigenous Latin Americans may well change in the future, particularly with the increased ethnic awareness of such people (see for instance Rappaport 1992), in the light of the evidence it is fair to say that indigenismo movements in Latin America have, up to now, always been much more about creating a national, mestizo, identity than about indigenous people. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Anthropology essays

  1. Urban Athens: a cultural examination of the differing treatment towards stray dogs and immigrants

    care for the population of stray dogs than to spend money on caring for the population of immigrants and homeless people? Upon further investigation into the subject I discovered that the programme for stray dogs includes "collection, documentation, tagging, vaccination, sterilization, parasite control and veterinary care"1, and although there are

  2. How does Anita Desai exploit language in 'A Village By The Sea' to give ...

    This we know through the word, 'fascinated.' This also perhaps shows that people are exchanging their traditional values for technological prosperity and the reader has to derive a lesson from this. The next line, 'Mrs. De Silva standing there, dressed in an outlandish costume unlike anything worn by the women

  1. IT IS ARGUED THAT AT THE HEART OF ALL RELATIONSHIPS THERE IS AN UNEQUAL ...

    Carotenuto (1992: p51). Therefore, no matter what we as counsellors profess about being equal with the client, it is likely that the client will place us in a position of power themselves. I think that this is not as serious in the humanistic approach because the counsellor is in a more approachable position.

  2. The Relevance of Antropology

    This can interpret mass tourism as a cycle of paradoxes. The emergence of mass tourism has integrated within a global set of cultural, social and economic networks however the tourist experiences may contain elements of invention, therefore that cultural expressions are deliberately constructed to attract the interest of tourists hence 'staged authenticity'.

  1. Free essay

    I found it sometimes quite unreasonable to put people into different racial categories since ...

    to define the person in terms of an absolute standard [what is the absolute standard? Why is it significant that the book causes the reader to judge and then shows them the reality?]. By looking at any person only from their appearance, there is absolutely no way to tell where

  2. Why was the concept of race so important to anthropology in the late ...

    which accounted more for social inequalities than for human diversity through a biological point of view. Peter Wade in his essay Human nature and race defines race as being "a cultural category which can become an embodied part of the human experience" (2004, p.157).

  1. The formation of national character.

    Even within the same country, one could find two completely separated nations with their own national character. Sometimes an 'accident', as Hume calls it, such as a difference in language or religion can prevent two nations in the same country from influencing each other.

  2. In which ways does caste differ from class as a form of social hierarchy?

    However, this never happened and as a result it could be argued that class can be seen as a control apparatus in keeping different social groups from clashing with one another. Thus, caste and social class can be noted as similar in terms of comparing them as a form of social hierarchy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work