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The discursive construction of intercultural education in the Mexican indigenous context

Fuentes-Morales, Rocio (2009) The discursive construction of intercultural education in the Mexican indigenous context. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Intercultural bilingual education was adopted by the Mexican school system to offer a type of education that was linguistically and culturally suitable for the indigenous groups of Mexico. Although the model was originally aimed at ethnic minorities, recently intercultural education is being extended to society in general as a strategy to change multicultural relations and to establish a more democratic society. However, the model has been criticized because of its lack of theoretical definition, legal grounding and practical problems in its implementation. Since the goals of intercultural education go beyond pedagogic issues, it is important to study how the Discourse of intercultural education is being interpreted, accepted, rejected and transformed by different social actors related to the educational field.This study explores the continuities and ruptures in the Discourse of intercultural education through the analysis of written policy documents and the discourse (i.e., language in use) of indigenous teachers, policy brokers, academics and indigenous leaders. Such continuities and ruptures reflect the underlying ideologies of these social actors regarding the goals of intercultural education, and the roles of indigenous teachers, society and organizations in this change process.Under the framework of critical discourse analysis (van Dijk, 1985; 2003), official policy documents were compared to linguistic data yielded by ethnographic observations in indigenous schools and interviews with key actors in the indigenous educational field. An analysis of the discursive strategies and linguistic devices used by the interviewees and written documents shows that there are continuities, contradictions and overlaps in the positioning of the subjects regarding the tenets of intercultural bilingual education. The study exposes the role of these linguistic practices in the reproduction of dominant Discourses that perpetuate the status quo of indigenous education that the intercultural model was supposed to challenge in the first place; however, such reproduction is far from linear since indigenous teachers exert oppositional agency against institutional practices (linguistic and others) and take advantage of the discursive and legal space opened up by the intercultural model to develop their own educational projects, which constitute a cultural appropriation of the intercultural model.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberPaulston, ChristinaPaulston@pitt.eduPAULSTON
Committee MemberLamana, GonzaloLamana@pitt.eduLAMANA
Committee MemberFrechione, Johnjfrech@pitt.eduJFRECH
Date: 28 January 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 October 2008
Approval Date: 28 January 2009
Submission Date: 1 December 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Intercultural education; Linguistics; Discourse analysis; Mexico
Other ID:, etd-12012008-174600
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


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