Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 4-1-2010

Capstone Advisor

Dr. David Robinson

Honors Reader

Dr. Hans Buechler

Capstone Major

Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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