Carmen Osuna Nevado presented her PhD thesis

She presented her Thesis to the Committee on December 30th, 2011. At the Facultad de Ciencias, UNED. The Committee granted her the highest distintion.
Currently, Bolivia is in the middle of what is known as “Revolución Educativa” (Educational Revolution), and the intercultural approach is one of the key issues of this educational change. It was in 1994, and within a context of political and social transformations, that a new law framed within the intercultural approach was issued.. Twelve years later, in 2006, a new transformation process started, and it ended in 2012, once the new law on Education was passed. What kind of historical and social processes could have influenced in these changes of perspective? What type of repercussions these transformations have in school practices and discourses? Does intercultural education has the same meaning for social and school agents than for policy makers? What kind of mechanisms school personnel are using in order to guarantee equity in a context of “cultural” diversity? What are the consequences of these mechanisms? These are some of the questions that I aim to address in my PhD thesis. This thesis is based on an ethnographic fieldwork in two different schools at the city of La Paz, Bolivia. My thesis could be expressed as follows: Intercultural education, in the way it is implemented today, encourages the formulation of a very rigid concept of culture, which, in turn, is used to legitimate differences leading towards inequality. This transformation is thus, neglecting many other important issues that have a role to play in relationships among people. Therefore, and in spite of the good intentions, the concept of culture used in this way is, at the end, deepening the differences and has a negative effect on target groups. I use my work here to illustrate and elaborate my arguments. With this ethnographic work, I propose to approach the “de-essensialization’ of culture, and anti-racist education, with a new angle. My PhD thesis has been done within the frame of the research project: “Estrategias de participación y prevención de racismo en las escuelas II” [Participation Strategies and Racism Prevention in Schools (FFI2009-08762).