Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. David Robinson
Dr. Hans Buechler
Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
International and Area Studies | Latin American Studies
In 1990 a massive pan-indigenous uprising occurred throughoutEcuador. This uprising paralyzed the nation and brought the newly politicized ethnicity of indigenous people as political actors to national attention. This led to an increasingly contentious struggle for power, related to the historical verticality of classes based upon ethnicity. But why did ethnicity now become politicized in such an explosive manner and how is this politicized identity formed?
Examining historical context, we trace the evolution of state discourse which greatly shapes identity from one of separation and segregation of indigenous peoples and Hispanic elites, to greater inclusion of all populations as citizens. Attempts have been made by the Ecuadorian state to integrate all populations. In this integration, for the sake of “modernization”, indigenous people were pushed to lose their languages and traditions in order to conform to a peasant class and to espouse a sense of citizenship and belonging to their government. In response indigenous peoples have politicized their ethnicity to become powerful actors who have demanded the recognition of pluri-ethnicity and multi-culturality inEcuador, thereby establishing their minority rights.
The history of ethnic relations inEcuadorwill be examined. The official national discourse from the state regarding identity and integration has been disseminated through vehicles like public schools, the national census, popular folklore, and ethnographic museums. Through ethnography the reality of the fluidity of identity can be examined as a response to the state’s official discourse, giving us knowledge of how theory and reality intersect.
Babecki, Marie-Genevieve Sasseville, "The Identity and Integration of the Quichua-speaking People of Highland Ecuador" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 406.
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