Document Type

Honors Project


Ethnic diversity has historically created conflict in many nation-states throughout the globe. From the era of nation-state formation to the present, states have had various strategies for dealing with this diversity. These strategies can be divided into three distinct categories: assimilation, integration and pluralism. Because of the increasing strength and importance of the global indigenous peoples' movement, relations between states and indigenous peoples are transforming away from assimilationist models toward integration and symbolic support. Why would governments nominally or symbolically support programs to preserve and revive indigenous culture? To answer this question, I compare government support for intercultural-bilingual education programs in Peru and Guatemala. I find that both states have reached a state of institutional paralysis in their implementation of intercultural-bilingual education. A comparative historical overview of both countries finds that internal conflicts were turning points in the states' relationships with their indigenous peoples. Contention between the government and its populations resulted in transformation, either through co-optation or negotiation. Despite these distinct trajectories of change, both countries experience institutional paralysis when it comes to multicultural policy as a result of states' efforts to maintain their authority through law, in accordance with the bureaucratic nature of nation-states.



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