El surgimiento del mestizo y la desaparición del indígena: educación y la fase biopolítica del discurso indigenista en México

  • Rene Carrasco Harvard University


The following essay analyzes a particular moment within the genealogy of indigenista discourse. In particular, I refer to said "moment" as the “biopolitical phase” of indigenista discourse. In order to do so, I will analyze texts by three prominent Mexican intellectuals, Justo Sierra (1848-1912), Manuel Gamio (1883-1960) and José Vasconcelos (1882-1959). In their texts, and through their works, indigenista discourse acquired the biopolitical trait that modern indigenismo presently displays. While previous articulations of indigenista discourse had attempted to create symbolical-rhetorical alliances with the indigenous populations, this new “moment” in the genealogy of indigenismo sought to fully incorporate the indigenous into the national agenda by transforming them into mestizos. Thus, mestizaje not only became the hegemonic ideology of post-Revolutionary Mexico, but it also became the guiding principle behind State-sponsored institutions – like the Secretary of Public Education – who would then carry out a systematic process of acculturation, through which the indigenous populations would be converted into “Mexicans”. During this “moment” of the genealogy of indigenista discourse, we witness the rise of the mestizo and the disappearance of the indigenous. In other words, the biopolitical phase of the indigenista discourse presents itself as, and perpetuates, a grammar of redemption.

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