Voices of Contact: Politics of Language In Urban Amazonian Ecuador
AdvisorHill, Jane H
Mendoza-Denton, Norma C
Committee ChairHill, Jane H
Mendoza-Denton, Norma C
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is a study of diverse linguistic resources and contentious identity politics among indigenous Amazonian Kichwas in the city of Tena, Ecuador. Tena is a rapidly developing Amazonian provincial capital city with a long history of interethnic and interlinguistic contact. In recent decades, the course of indigenous Kichwa identity formation has been dramatically altered by increasing urban relocation, a burgeoning international eco-tourism industry, a generational language shift toward Spanish monolingualism, and the introduction of bilingual and intercultural education into native communities.The current era of nationalistic Ecuadorian "interculturality" and cultural tourism have heightened the public visibility of threatened indigenous practices. Paralleling these national social currents has been a growing indigenous activist movement in Ecuador that has very recently introduced a controversial new Kichwa language-planning project in Napo province. The national standard, Unified Kichwa, is currently being taught to a young population of indigenous students in the Tena region in an effort to create cultural and political solidarity among geographically separate communities. The move has been met with considerable backlash from Tena Kichwas who believe local Amazonian language identity and "natural" socialization practices are under threat of displacement.As part of this fracturing of ideologies surrounding language production and socialization, Tena Kichwas are creating innovative strategies for objectifying marked linguistic forms in order to use them for specific political purposes. The city of Tena has been reconceptualized as an indigenous space for publicly exhibiting opposing identity construction strategies, particularly through the use of new semiotic media, including folkloric performance and mass-communications technology. Language choice, variation and change are becoming very apparently politicized in this unique socio-cultural milieu, where new and old varieties are being symbolically elevated and denigrated through high-profile semiotic work. Language has become a critical site for the intellectualization of cultural change and a key vehicle for asserting rights to self-representation and self-determination.This dissertation combines theoretical and methodological approaches in linguistic anthropology, ethnographic sociolinguistics and discourse analysis to examine language variation, change and ideologization in progress. It attempts to illuminate aspects of the process by which language forms emerge and transform as products of social experience.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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