Ideological paradox and intercultural possibility: Andean language-in-education policy and practice and its relevance for South Africa

  • Nancy H Hornberger Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, United States of America


Paralleling recent developments in South Africa, initiatives in language policy and education reform in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia over the last three decades have opened up new possibilities for indigenous languages and their speakers through bilingual intercultural education. Examining the use and meanings of the term interculturalidad (interculturality) in policy documents and short practitioner narratives from the Andean context, this article explores the ideological paradox inherent in transforming a standardising education into a diversifying one and constructing a national identity which is also multilingual and multicultural. Specifically, I look at the use of the term interculturality in policy and practitioner discourses and what it means to the different groups using it, in terms of what cultural groups are represented and how they are constructed as interacting. I also consider why the term interculturality is invoked in policy discourse, and how it is accomplished in practitioner discourse. My analysis aims at understanding to what degree this new education is an avenue for changing the centuries-old subordination of indigenous groups in their national societies. Drawing lessons from the Andean experiences, the paper concludes with a brief section on implications for language-in-education policy and practice in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms in South Africa and elsewhere.

(S/ern Af Linguistics & Applied Language Stud: 2001 19(3&4): 215-230)

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614