Exclusion in the era of multicultural recognition : cultural heritage, Afro-descendants, and the politics of diversity in Colombia and Brazil
- Colombian and Brazilian bureaucrats readily agree that recognizing their nation's cultural heritage and ethno-racial diversity is inherently good. My dissertation questions this premise and examines the unexpected and often-harmful consequences that, in practice, heritage declarations have on minorities. Based on multi-sited ethnographic research in Colombia, Brazil, and UNESCO headquarters in France, this dissertation examines how polices that recognize Afro-descendant groups can also increase their economic and political marginalization. This dissertation focuses on two formerly enslaved Afro-descendant communities, San Basilio de Palenque in Colombia, inscribed on UNESCO's "Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, " and Quilombo dos Palmares in Brazil, declared as a National Heritage Site. Using ethnographic methods including participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and archival analysis, my research traces a series of unintended outcomes wrought by cultural heritage policies on the ground and critically considers the structural limitations that characterize these kinds of initiatives. Regardless of their positive aims, I argue that the very policies intended to proffer empowerment to some, actually exacerbate inequality for others. The ethnographic evidence I collected between 2009 and 2013 shows that while heritage recognition brings visibility to the cultural practices of Afro-descendants, it also masks the deep-seated struggles of minorities and cements categorical boundaries between different ethnic groups. This dissertation highlights the paradox of heritage recognition policies, which tend to be understood as part of a broader agenda to promote ethno-racial diversity. Though these policies strive to expand Afro-descendants' social, political, and symbolic membership as citizens of multicultural nations, they end up also entrenching exclusion, buttressing elitism, and reinforcing inequality within and between communities of African descent. My ethnographically based insights are helpful for examining the real-time effects of multicultural policies on the ground, as well as informing a largely theoretical debate on how to value cultural difference. Ultimately, my dissertation contributes to develop new theory and methods for evaluating the impacts of heritage declarations on ethno-racial minorities. By elucidating the limits of cultural heritage recognition to provide reparation for Afro-descendants, my research is of crucial importance for wider debates regarding politics of diversity in the Global South.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Escallón, María Fernanda
|Stanford University, Department of Anthropology.
|Voss, Barbara L, 1967-
|Voss, Barbara L, 1967-
|Statement of responsibility
|Maria Fernanda Escallón.
|Submitted to the Department of Anthropology.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
- © 2016 by Maria Fernanda Escallon
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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