Ideology, education and social change in Latin America: a case study of Bolivia 1930-1953

Tattersall, Neil (1989). Ideology, education and social change in Latin America: a case study of Bolivia 1930-1953. MPhil thesis The Open University.



The thesis analyses the role of education in affecting the course of social change in Bolivia from 1930 to 1953.

Initially, the thesis discusses the three main research strategies currently employed in historical sociology and argues that the subsequent analysis accords with the strategy favoured by the analytical historical sociologists.

After a brief descriptive account of the geography and political economy of Bolivia, the thesis analyses the relationship between ideology and education, emphasising the fact that the concept of ideology plays a crucial role in clarifying the way in which education functions to reproduce the social relations of production.

The thesis then sets out the apparent consensus view of the role of education in developing countries and shows how this view is justified by reference to the relationship between Latin American states as peripheral zones and their economic/political centres.

Theories of underdevelopment are reviewed with particular reference to contemporary Third World countries, the thesis arguing that cognizance needs to be taken of these theories in order to fully understand the relationship between education and social change in Bolivia.

Agrarian structures, together with the concepts of peasantry and peasant consciousness, are then discussed because recognition needs to be made of the actions of the actual people involved and, at that time, the majority of the Bolivians were peasants.

The thesis then relates how, in the 1920s and 1930s in Bolivia, there existed the conditions which allowed the challenging of the status quo by various discontented factions and which created an environment responsive to the call for an education programme for the peasants. The growth of peasant consciousness is demonstrated and its impact on Bolivia is shown through the development of an indigenal education programme.

The thesis concludes that in Bolivia between 1930 and 1953 there developed an education movement which was the focus of anti-government and subversive activity and which played a considerable part in the promulgation of a land reform law in 1953 which was instrumental in bringing about a major change in the social structure of Bolivian society.

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