11: Education as an Antidote to Underdevelopment, and the Epistemicide That It Has Entailed

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Education is often heralded as a pathway towards success, prosperity, and overcoming the obstacles and inadequacies of the conditions children confront. However, hidden within this narrative lies the hegemonic Western development paradigm which so profoundly shapes the epistemological framework of the modern-day capitalist and globalized civilization. This homogenizing and globalizing paradigm impairs the ability to understand, value, and respect the alternative epistemologies of indigenous people and communities. This chapter draws attention to how the governing rationality of the Western paradigm has contributed to the denigration and disparagement of rural, peasant, and indigenous communities in Guatemala. It also analyses two concrete examples of educational resistance to the homogenizing impositions of official education in Guatemala. The chapter concludes that indigenous-led educational alternatives have the power to challenge the hegemony of Western educational norms and to create educational alternatives that respect, value, and esteem the specific, territorial epistemologies of place-based cultures.

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