‘Early’ and ‘Modern’ indigenist Practices – A Comparative Analysis of the Ecuadorian and the Mexican cases

Pablo Campos, Bielefeld University:

The field of indigenism has been studied from a wide range of perspectives since the 1970s. The reflections presented in the following essay are part of an attempt to contribute to these efforts from a different angle. Studies of indigenism usually focus on the official indigenist politics and on the scientific approaches that legitimate them. On the following pages I will try to go beyond these approaches in order to understand the significance of the practice which makes indigenism possible in the first place, comparison. Practices of comparison are not only the foundation of science, but of thinking. In concrete terms, the objective of the present work will be to reflect on how ‘modern’ indigenist practices in the 1940s were influenced by ‘earlier’ comparisons in the form of structured structures and structuring structures in Bourdieusian sense. For this purpose, I will analyze and contextualize the early contributions of Mexican and Ecuadorian institutional indigenists to the official journal of the InterAmerican Indian Institute named América Indígena and relate them with ‘earlier’ indigenist production.

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