Emergent Guatemalan-Maya discourses and institutions of "moderinzation": The impact of education upon the representation of the Maya in a globalized world
Lima Soto, Ricardo E.
Marcus, George E.
Doctor of Philosophy
The purpose of this study was to collect dispersed components of the emergent Maya "modernizing" discourses which focused on the incorporation of their culture into the society of Guatemala and full participation in national and international arenas. Specifically, I focused on the information contained in the ideology, knowledge, values, and goals as defined or produced by a group of Maya professionals who attended an experimental program, Program for Integral Development of the Mayan Population (PRODIPMA), developed and administered by Rafael Landivar University and sponsored by USAID from 1986 to 1993, in Guatemala. This ethnographic account has charted the movements by which our focal group entered the community with a strong consciousness of their cultural identity. Members of this group are currently pursuing the creation of critical pro-Mayan and intercultural discourses. They are steering the direction of institutional activism towards "modernization" according to national and global definitions. I conducted my research using both archival and fieldwork techniques. Interviewing protocols were designed and applied to university authorities, faculty, tutors, and a representative number of indigenous alumni. The study included a conscious in-depth analysis of both the institutional context and the curricular contents to which all the indigenous students were exposed to. All curricular contents were defined to reach Landivar University's academic standards and social goals. Landivar inheritated a Western tradition consisting of European philosophy, science, and methodologies. As a consequence, URL based the academic program on European and American authors, scientists, and philosophers, converting the PRODIPMA program, epistemologically, into a post-colonizing program for indigenous students. However, Landivar University's commitment toward the emergence of an educated and developed multicultural society is based upon its Jesuit-Catholic ideology which, according to their principles, contributes to Guatemala's development through the empowerment of Mayan communities by means of making available their access to "pertinent" education (linguistic and culturally). Mayan modernity consists of openly gaining entry into universities and important job positions while they take advantage of technology and communications to enhance their values, identity, and languages of their culture. Conversely, the official policies of Guatemala continue to retain the privileged status of the Ladinos. The hegemonic Ladino (Spanish) paradigm is upheld socially, politically, and culturally.