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Intercultural education and Harakmbut identity : A case study of the community of San Jose in Southeastern Peru

Aikman, Sheila Helen; (1994) Intercultural education and Harakmbut identity : A case study of the community of San Jose in Southeastern Peru. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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National governments in Latin America have deliberately used education to try to integrate indigenous peoples into 'modern' society and thereby further economic development. Nevertheless, 'development' in the Amazon has brought widespread destruction of indigenous territories and erosion of the very basis of indigenous identities and ways of life. The failure of formal education has focused indigenous peoples' attention on the need for culturally appropriate education and demands for 'intercultural bilingual' education. This study examines learning and education in a remote Arakmbut community in the Peruvian Amazon where external political, social and economic influences are threatening indigenous identity. It considers the conflicts and tensions which exist between the formal school, implanted in the community, and the Arakmbut cultural basis of learning, education and knowledge which is built upon a fundamentally different world view. Because of the incompatibility of world views, the Arakmbut have developed strategies to try to limit the influence of the Catholic mission-controlled school and keep their own educational practices distinct. For many indigenous peoples, intercultural education provides a means of both strengthening and maintaining their way of life and acquiring competencies for their participation in the life of the nation state. However, for the Arakmbut, intercultural education poses a dilemma because its predominantly literate and formal nature threatens their 'informal' learning processes, the spiritual basis of their knowledge and the oral character of their indigenous and collective identity. The Arakmbut have maintained their unique world view by ensuring their complete control over its transmission to new generations. However, because of threats from outside, they need to be able to strengthen these educational processes. They also need to improve the quality and relevance of the formal education to combat its ethnocidal characteristics. This thesis examines the potential of intercultural bilingual education for achieving both these objectives and concludes that, for the Arakmbut to consider it a useful ally, it must be enshrined in their demands for and expressions of self-determination over their lives. This means that intercultural education cannot be restricted to the school but must encompasses the whole of Arakmbut society.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Intercultural education and Harakmbut identity : A case study of the community of San Jose in Southeastern Peru
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos...
Language: English
Additional information: PhD: University of London Institute of Education [Department of International and Comparative Education]. 1994..
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020219
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