Responding to epistemic violence: Indigenous pupils’ racialised classroom experiences in Chile

18 November 2013, 14:00 - 16:00

SG1, Alison Richard Building

Dr Andrew Webb (Department of Geography) presents at the CRASSH Postdoctoral Research Seminar.

The event is free to attend but registration is required. Please click on the link at the right hand side of the page to book your place.

Abstract

Concerns over the equity of the Chilean education system received global recognition following student mobilisations and protests during 2011 and 2012. Neoliberal reforms to education during the military dictatorship exacerbated existing income and socioeconomic differentials among the national population. Amongst those most affected are ethnic minorities, and in particular indigenous populations. Existing research demonstrates that within the skewed education system, indigenous pupils suffer from worse access to high achieving schools and on average obtain lower test-scores than non-indigenous pupils. Explanations for these inequalities require an analysis of racialised experiences of schooling.

 

The postdoctoral research explores how the state-endorsed national curriculum and classroom practices perpetuate these exclusions despite late and limited multicultural measures: an Intercultural Bilingual Education Programme (PEIB) launched by the Ministry of Education in 2000. From the ongoing research project (2011-2014), I present data from focus groups conducted in 2012 with 103 Mapuche secondary school pupils from two intercultural and two non-intercultural schools in the Araucania Region of Chile – the historic centre of Chile’s largest indigenous group. I document how Mapuche pupils articulate meanings of racial and national belonging in (relation to) the classroom, and how they judge the (in)appropriateness of the education system. I map out the discursive means through which pupils construct their identities in relation to first, state-led formal agendas of human capital production and second, racialised discourses constructed in school.

 

I suggest that pupils’ negotiations regarding race-ethnicity and education are ambivalent and precarious. On the one hand, pupils continue to be uprooted from family and communities during their weekly boarding in schools, while on the other ‘supplementary’ Intercultural Bilingual Education provides more of a folkloric cultural dimension of Mapuche identity which fails to address epistemic violence or racism. 

  

About Andrew Webb

 

I am a sociologist specialising in ethnic identity formation among youth in developing countries, with a developing interest in the role that education plays in this process. Currently I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge working on an ESRC funded (2011-2014) project entitled:  'Intercultural Bilingual Education in Chilean classrooms: Exploring youth identities, multiculturalism and nationalism' with Prof. Sarah Radcliffe.

For forther information about the programme please go to the CRASSH Postdoctoral Research Forum.

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