Multicultural education, gender equality, and the nation in Bolivia



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Bolivian Law of Educational Reform, which was passed in 1994, included interculturality and gender equity among its many various components and objectives. In this dissertation, the author investigates the promise and paradox of official recognition of culture and gender through an exploration of the prevalent educational discourse in the context of the reform, which aimed to promote social equality and participatory democracy. Based on qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in Bolivia, the findings elucidate how this equality-oriented education valorized indigenousness as rural and traditional but gender equality as urban and modern in a manner that was counter to its own prevailing ideas of educational success for indigenous children and girls. The research explores how these representations served as the basis for attributing the problems of implementing both ethnic and gender equality in education to rural indigenous people. It also examines how the concepts of citizen, nation, and development configured in the discourse of educational reform to promote untenable patriotic obligations for indigenous women and men but not for nonindigenous citizens.