Tag Archives: Ethnic Constitution

Ethnic Constitution in the Guatemalan Educational System

Bienvenido Argueta

Full title: Ethnic Constitution in the Guatemalan Educational System: Toward a Phenomenological Analysis of the Birth of Racism in Pedagogical Discourses (1890-1930)

This study of the role of the Guatemalan educational system in a sociopolitical project of racial and ethnic differentiation, control, exclusion, and domination exposes the way educational awareness developed a racist discourse, as well as uncovering the methods employed to control, homogenize, and dominate the indigenous peoples. The study examines the ethical and moral grounds of racist pedagogical discourse and hence, not only the relationship between education and race, but also the links between power, science, and political enlightenment.

A central issue in this research is the description of the process of becoming aware of another culture through the prism of the Other’s body. This process is exemplified by the portrayal of the indigenous body, as revealed in the codification of discourse dealing with specific body parts, postures, gestures, attitudes, tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, and functions.

The study demonstrates the extent to which pedagogy and educational practices were seen in Guatemala as a technical power capable of making education institutions a mechanism for the normalization of the populace. Both theoretically and in practice, education constituted for the Guatemalan oligarchy a therapeutic field liberating the indigenous peoples from their presumed ethical and moral inadequacies.

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