Rockwell, Elsie and Erica González Apodaca (2012).

, in Anderson-Levitt, Kathryn
(ed). Mapping Anthropologies of Education. A Global Guide to Ethnographic
Studies of Learning and Schooling. Oxford, New York: Bergham Books. 362
pp. ISBN: 978-0-85745-273-3

Anthropological Research On Educational Processes in México

The past two decades have seen considerable diversification and increase in anthropological
studies on education in Mexico.1 In this review, we privilege studies engaging concepts such as
culture, language, ethnicity, and power from an anthropological perspective, however we also
include ethnographic research on education informed by other disciplines insofar as it has
provided important references for anthropologists studying educational processes; in fact,
disciplinary boundaries are quite arbitrary. We include only research based in Mexico,
regrettably omitting studies done by Mexicans in other countries2 and reference to scholars from
other countries deeply involved in research in Mexico.
Anthropological engagement with education began in the 1930s in close contact with the
indigenista policies and practices for integrating indigenous peoples. In
the 1970s anthropologists challenged those policies, and in 1987 Guillermo Bonfil published his
controversial book (México Profundo) arguing, against the ideology of mestizaje, that the
Mesoamerican heritage had strongly configured the nation. During these years, scholars initiated
research projects on education, primarily at CISINAH/CIESAS and at the DIE/Cinvestav in
Mexico City. Since then the field has expanded to other institutions, in dialogue with leading
anthropological trends in the country. Nevertheless, within institutional anthropology in Mexico
(associations, graduate programs, publications), the study of education is less consolidated than
topics such as ethnicity, migration, medicine, or religion; rather the field has developed in close

107

relation with other educational sciences. In this context, a significant interdisciplinary venue has
been the Interamerican Symposium on Ethnographic Research in Education inaugurated in 1990,
which has been held five times in México (e.g., Calvo et al. 1998).

Changing Contexts of Anthropological Research on Education
Educational research in the eighties was strongly influenced by the social movements of the
sixties and seventies in Latin America, including student and teacher mobilizations claiming
schools as spaces for democratic vindication and the provision of free, universal public education
as a responsibility of the State. Ethnographic research revealed deep contradictions between
official discourse and an educational reality characterized by high levels of exclusion and
inequity, as well as disdain of indigenous and popular cultures. Reflection centered on the
structural and cultural specificities of Latin America vs. first world countries, and on the
complexity of contested social processes, including reproduction and resistance, occurring
through formal schooling.
The political context in Mexico has changed considerably since then. Both the traditional
PRI regimes of the nineties and the right-wing PAN favored by elections since 2000 guaranteed
strict compliance with international neoliberal policies. With economic instability the country
suffered increasing levels of poverty, migration, organized crime and low-intensity warfare.
However, new social movements also emerged. Particularly salient were indigenous movements,
including the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, but new political identities were also
forged by other social actors claiming specific rights (youth groups, urban and feminist
movements, migrant workers). An emerging sector of indigenous intellectuals became
increasingly vocal, influencing political discourse and claiming recognition of cultural survival
as a collective right. As the struggle opposed the traditional uniformity of educational policy, the
108

government, following international trends, adopted diversified curricular models, including
bilingual intercultural education, while maintaining strict political control and promoting
economic models which have undermined the economy.
Extreme economic inequality, asymmetrical power relations, and the dynamics of
transnationality, globalization, and violence marked the emerging contexts. These conditions in
turn have propelled new research questions, oriented towards understanding
ethnographically describing

and

relations between schooling, the State and diverse social actors,

within rural and urban contexts of social, cultural and ethnic diversity. By emphasizing the
hegemonic and counter-hegemonic processes that take place in this arena, including the power
struggles of new political subjects, research has shown the constant negotiation, contestation, and
manipulation of diverse meanings of education. Anthropologists in Mexico continue to engage in
public debates surrounding educational policies that deepen the inequalities of the school system
and social structure. In doing so, they have given new import to the concepts of culture, power,
identity and indigenous rights, and increasingly approach education as a cultural process that
extends far beyond schooling.

Methodological Approaches
As in other countries, in Mexico, methodological and theoretical convergence marks the field,
making any clear delimitation between anthropological studies and other qualitative research
difficult. The fundamental approach in the studies reviewed has been ethnography, understood as
research that involves extended field work in one locale, engagement with local knowledge and
meaning, and theoretically grounded descriptions of socio-cultural processes. Books on the
ethnographic perspective in education have been published by Maria Bertely (2000) and Elsie
Rockwell (2009), and several articles by other scholars. Nevertheless, it is important to note that
109

as well as how space. the conception of schooling as a social construction has widely transcended the normative view. In this line it is noteworthy that a growing number of dissertations are written by indigenous scholars. including Refugio Nava. as all those involved engage with everyday representations and practices in and around schools. Furthermore. public policy studies. 157 chapters and articles. studies of appropriation stress the active transformation of social institutions and strategic use of cultural resources. Fernando García. Juan Julian. directors. Analyses have explored how teachers. archival research and oral history all figure importantly in the work reviewed below. 46 doctoral dissertations and 64 3 found in this field revealed nine thematic lines which we now summarize. often distant from what official policy dictates or common sense assumes. leading to interest in the processes whereby school cultures and governing structures are reproduced. negotiated. Studies show how strategies for interpreting rules and policies produce multiple school realities. Lucas Ramírez.4 Structures and Cultures of Schooling In this field. time and material resources are used. although within existing constraints. and Rafael Cardoso. parents. 110 . Thematic Lines Our review of 95 published books. in-depth interviews. Complementing work on social reproduction and cultural production. authorities and students each propose and contest the meanings and representations of schooling. resisted or re-elaborated in everyday social relations. an emerging trend stresses collaborative research and native authoring or co-authoring.this approach has been complemented by others: discourse analysis.

Díaz Tepepa 2001). while Etelvina Sandoval (2000) contrasted the consequences of different relationships among principals. has uncovered the complex networks involved in school management and supervision. in what promises to configure a new thematic field on policy in practice research on the dynamic and contradictory interplay of cultural resources and meanings on the boundaries between schooling and other social contexts. tied into administrative and union structures.A common thread of school ethnographies in Mexico is their contextualization within the national school system. Beatriz Calvo and colleagues (2002). and Cecilia Fierro (2005). Viewed through anthropological lenses. Gutiérrez and Quiroz 2007) underscore the influence of curricula. For secondary schools. However. 2003) and his students (Díaz 1998. Recent studies by her students describe facets or this interface in different settings: Gilberto Pérez (2005) detailed the co-construction of non-formal courses on child-rearing practices for mothers. schools appear marked by strong cultural traditions. resources and evaluations on teaching practices and student strategies. and Octavio Falconi (2003) articulated writing practices 111 . on educational practice. Research by Justa Ezpeleta (2004) and her students. López and Weiss 2007. Rural and technical schools have been a fertile terrain for exploring this process. as seen in several qualitative studies (Ezpeleta and Weiss 2000. Rafael Quiroz (2000. ethnographic approaches have also revealed the import of structural elements. related to national and local policy. teachers and students in urban secondary schools. schedules. such as the civic ceremonies studied by Eva Taboada (1998) and ritual practices described by Gloria Ornelas (2007). while Florencia Ortega (2006) discovered influences on imagined future careers.

Studies on universities constitute a special category. where the lines between qualitative and ethnographic research tend to be diffuse. The Work of Teaching The concept of trabajo docente. historically constructed nature of this work.elaboration of popular culture in the classroom. rather than with reference to prescriptive or evaluative models. are informed rather by sociological and curricular theory. the work of teaching. and these studies all drew on alternative concepts of culture and learning in the anthropological and socio-cultural traditions. Valeria Rebolledo and Teresita Pérez centered their theses on the experiences of indigenous families and teachers with dominant language schooling. to be understood on its own terms. negotiated. and with her students 112 . unifies research in this field. reviewed by Mario Rueda (2007). Ruth Mercado (2002) has deepened her analysis of reflexive. An important exception to this trend is the anthropology study of Luis Arturo Ávila (2003) which contrasted two private colleges. later qualitative studies on higher education. many focusing on instructional methods and personal trajectories. as alternative projects based on cultural selections of regional values. multi-voiced saberes docentes (teaching knowledges) and the continuous transformative appropriations of educational resources. although he inscribes it in socio-psychology and institutional analysis. The work of Eduardo Remedi (2008) and his students has been significant. While early research by Larisa Adler-Lomnitz and her students drew on anthropological theory to characterize the transmission of the scientific ethos in peripheral countries. In recent research. displacing more neutral terms such as instruction or practice It stresses the collective.

This has led to novel studies. 2000. She and her students (Naranjo and Candela 2006) are currently using actor network and multimodal analyses to explore science classes in elementary and university settings. Susan Street (1996. 2003. In Mexico. Antonia Candela has led this trend. Working from the related perspective of sociocultural psychology. tension and conflict within and around the teacher corps. Flor Bermúdez) have worked on three successive teacher union movements and their changing political positions and ideological frameworks. who is currently coordinating oral histories on indigenous teachers. 2005).reforms. as has Oresta López. Street (2008) has stressed a gender perspective in the study of teachers. knowledge of formal curricular contents is distinguished from knowledge as represented in classrooms and co-constructed between teachers and students. Inquiry on the multidimensional identity processes and organizational cultures of teachers continues to occupy an important place. a particularly salient theme involves the contradiction. with studies of Normal schools and training programs undertaken by Mercado (1997) and Patricia Medina (2000). which explain both the reproduction and transformations of the system. 2001) and her students (Jiménez L. Silvia Rojas (2000) and her colleagues have studied exploratory talk and 113 . from trade-unionist identity to use of trabajo docente as a political and cultural category. Teacher training has been another theme of recent research. in which both student and teacher agency are situated in particular cultural contexts and studied within classrooms characterized by historically constructed teaching traditions. through studies of science classes in which she stresses the power of children to influence discourse (1999. In this approach. Classroom Ethnography Researchers studying classroom interaction in Mexico have understood the need to integrate discourse analysis with an anthropologically informed ethnographic approach.

Rossana Podestá (2000) and her student Alicia Guerrero. Rockwell has contributed studies on oral teaching genres (2000) and literacy practices (2006) in rural classrooms. Recent research in this line is questioning the notion of classroom as a closed space showing the diversity of cultural. yet given the importance of this field we consider it separately. political and historical references influencing everyday dialogic teaching processes. This position is strengthened through research on non-school contexts. Research on language and literacy in Mexico has gone far beyond the classroom however. Studies of the appropriation and use of written Spanish by adults in non-school settings add to this perspective. viewing language socialization as a syncretic system used for locating speakers in diverse social situations. a student of Flores and later of Lourdes de León. social. Hamel (2002). Studies of classroom uses of oral and written language by Hector Muñoz and Patricia Mena (Mena. shedding light on the contradictions of bilingual education policies in Mexico. revealed tensions among indigenous students and teachers and the frequent loss of cultural referential contents of native language instruction. For example. Refugio Nava (2008). 2005) has been a foremost proponent of language revitalization processes in non-school contexts. studied language loss and maintenance in Nahuatl-Spanish bilingual communities. Through the analysis of narratives and cultural practices beyond 114 .other discourse strategies in classrooms. Muñoz and Ruiz 1999). The long-term research of Muñoz and Lewin (1996) and Enrique Hamel (2003) advanced the understanding of language ideologies and diglossia in bilingual communities and schools. José Antonio Flores (2001. Language and Literacy Classroom ethnography overlaps with sociolinguistic studies reviewed by Podestá and Martínez (2003). Drawing on Bakhtin.

domestic tasks. initiator of this line in Mexico. Pursuing a different lead. such as observation. and Rafael Cardoso studied the conception of learning in his Mixe community. Her work has analyzed various facets. Cecilia Fierro (2005) privileged school cultures and the moral 115 . Judith Kalman (1999. Cultural Learning and Infant Socialization This central anthropological line includes work primarily done among indigenous groups that approaches learning as a process mediated by social and cultural factors that are not a direct result of formal methods or modalities of teaching. family and community contexts. Ruth Paradise. It addresses socio-cultural aspects of learning. tacit collaboration (1996) and reciprocity (Paradise and de Haan 2009). in school. 2004) has contributed innovative studies on social literacies of Spanish speaking adults in several domains: interaction with commercial scribes. has approached the socio-cultural styles of learning of indigenous children using a concept of culture linked to non-verbal communication and the practices of everyday life. autonomy. and from interpretative traditions of cultural anthropology and anthropological linguistics.formal schooling. Rosaura Galeana (2008) approached aspects of intercultural learning among Mixtec migrant children. Other students explored native uses of story-telling (Paloma Ramírez) and senses of time (Adriana Robles). literacy classes and popular religion. while Gabriela Czarny (2008) studied the resignification of experiences schooling with three urban Triqui leaders. Her students have explored many aspects of indigenous education and school experience: Fernando García (2007) studied the notion of respect in his own Quechua community. Rockwell (2001) shows how indigenous adults have appropriated dominant language literacy and used it for communal purposes.

discontinuities between family. is related to infant socialization. documenting a linguistic structure that converges with cultural texture of the Zinacantec socialization. However most worthy of note are the innovative collaborative and interpretative methodologies used by Paloma Escalante in her study of identity processes of Guatemalan refugee children (2006). by stressing contrasting ways of learning in and out of school (Paradise 1998. and Rossana Podestá (2006) in a collaborative study with children as co-authors. Rossana Reguillo (2000) has used a variety of approaches to analyze the construction of youth identities outside of school and their communicative and organizational practices. and is located in the interdisciplinary dialogue between cultural anthropology. community and school contexts. Youth Cultures The salience of diverse youth cultures in the public domain has led to a number of anthropological studies. documenting their counter-cultural potential as well as the socio-cultural and ideologic 116 . and by Ramos and Martínez and co-authors (2000). This approach should appear more often in future research. analyzed by Nancy Villanueva (2000). corporal and emotional dimensions as indicators of the arrival of understanding or of the soul and then explores the first Tzotzil vocabularies and their semantic fields. Recent research by Lourdes de León (2005). Her longitudinal study analyzes cultural visual. a noted linguist. sociolinguistics and developmental psychology. 2002).

117 . These include Juan Manuel Piña (2003) and his colleagues at UNAM who have studied the implicit meanings present in student life. but they are seen as youths. Job Avalos). and ways in which youth re-signify the structural conditions that characterize their school and their labor trajectories. and Gladys Ortiz presented her thesis on the everyday appropriation of the internet by university youth. While noting structural elements. Sociologists doing interpretive research on secondary and university students provide an important addition to this line. expressed in common-sense knowledge. through the analysis of actor subjectivities.explores the sociocultural aspects involved in the gap in access to digital technology. Dissertations in this line by Irene market. but rather as an encounter and exchange with peers and significant others (Weiss. bearing special identities and giving meaning to their school experience. Studies conducted in this line by Eduardo Weiss and his students use hermeneutic sociology in dialogue with ethnography and socio-cultural theory. The configuration of student reflexive construction of moral discourses on maturity. responsibility and freedom (Hernández G. et al. as well as in feelings. such as the fragmented character of knowledge and everyday school experience. which is considered not only in academic terms. 2008). Weiss nevertheless sees high schools as a significant youth space Students constitute their central topic. In a similar tradition. 2006. the cognitive mediation of the new technologies and their use in structured social contexts. imaginaries and social representations. values and judgments of schooling. including gender perspectives. as well as to learning in the figured world of Hip Hop culture (Imuris Valle).

Ethnicity. Studies of ethnogenesis show how indigenous people too re-invent their traditions and re-establish their imagined communities. The work reported here considers the ethnogenetic processes through which the indigenous people have been able to negotiate. A. dynamic and internally diverse social construct and Carlota Guzman (2007) used narratives to understand the working lives of university students. Struggling within unequal terms of power. and New Identities In Mexican anthropology generally there is a growing interest in ethnicity as a political construct which has provided theoretical force to research in this line. nationalism. In this sense. the contradictory results of training programs for bilingual teachers. indigenous peoples use emblematic identities strategically to determine ethnic boundaries and to negotiate cultural policies and resources in their relationship with the State. and Gunther Dietz have given theoretical-methodological guidelines and inspired or advised several graduate dissertations. industrialization and migration. María Bertely. Important collections of this research were edited by Guzmán and Saucedo (2007) and Piña and Pontón (2002). resist and vindicate their claims to educational resources. in the Tarasco/Purhépecha case. Anthropologists Andrés Medina. Medina (1998) did pioneer work on ethnicity and indigenous education in Chiapas. Guillermo de la Peña. their contribution to ethnic consciousness and to identification as bilingual intellectuals of their 118 .Adrian de Garay (2004) studied social identities and student experience as a complex. ethnicity makes of ethnolinguistic difference a reference for political action in struggles for the recognition of indigenous rights (de la Peña 2002. Susan Street. Vargas (1994) documented. Luis Vásquez. in order to reconstitute themselves and achieve common advantages in the face of the transformation of their ways of life produced by the global dynamics of modernity. Indigenous Educational Projects. María Eugenia Vargas. 2006).

with participation of indigenous intellectuals. and their descendants in Mexico City. Dissertations and publications in dialogue with this work approach various expressions of ethnicity in and around educational spaces and policies. Mixtec and Otomí peoples (Mutsuo Nakamura). Bertely (2005. communities and organizations.). documenting the ethnic uses of Spanish and school knowledge from different social positions. 2006a). Dietz (1999) conceptualized the Purhépecha social movement as an emerging social actor that reconstitutes itself through mythological temporalizations and uses its symbolic resources to confront the modern liberal State and its educational policies. Tzotziles (Gloria Benavides) and Yaquis (Enriqueta Lerma). 2009) (Rosalba Pérez V. situated between the state and indigenous schools. Tzotzil (Pérez P. Erika González A. Raúl Gutiérrez and Alicia Guerrero (directed by de León and Podestá) have addressed continuity between family 119 . Purhépechas (Elizabeth Martínez B. analyzed ethnogenetic processes surrounding the social history of schooling among Zapotecs of Yalalag. Benjamín Maldonado (2002) focused on ethnic resistance and educational projects generated by ethno-political organization in Oaxaca. 2003) and Zapotec communities (Jiménez N. Medina 2008). has been further documented in books on Mayo (P. Jaime González).. Educational experiences designed from below as alternatives to official educational policies. and documented the roles of lobbying and political intermediation of the Mixe professionals in ethnic appropriations of intercultural post-secondary education.native communities. have been studied among Huicholes by Angélica Rojas and Mixes by González A. (2004). Nahuas (Stefano Sartorello. The practice and intermediation of bilingual teachers. Theses by Kathia Núñez. Oaxaca. (2008) analyzed the landscape of intercultural education in the Mixe region of Oaxaca as a political arena. Jerny González. Nelson Antequera).. professionals and native intellectuals. Mixtec (Ramos 1996). Mazahuas (Sergio Pérez S.). who studied with de la Peña.

they do share similar topics and manifest aspects of the same ethnic identity. Rossana Podestá (et al. communal affiliation and ethnic consciousness. practices consolidating identities of urban peoples Finally. such as educational process. María Ana Portal (1997) has approached different non-school contexts of socialization and education. and patron saint festivities in Mexico City barrios. Some researchers used emergent perspectives based on the socio-cultural application of communal learning. or with Nahua descendants in the city do not express the same social representations of their territories. and note the political and ethical relevance of using distinctive cultural types to inspire indigenous educational projects (Bertely 2008). conceptualized as educational experiences structuring new identities.and school socialization. Her student. Communal ethnogenesis has also been studied in urban contexts by Bertely and her students. the systematization of educational 120 . A political-academic debate emerges between positions which depart from essentialism and propose a transversal interculturalization of public schools (Dietz 2003). alternative educational practices and the confluence of indigenous languages in the autonomous Zapatista communities and schools in Chiapas. the multidisciplinary field of intercultural education and indigenous rights shows emergent anthropological influence. Under this approach. and those that defend a strategic essentialism in the face of power relations. either inside communities. 2009) used representations of territory and their construction of residential identity. in relation to popular religiosity and urban identities in a barrio of Mexico City.

positing that their holistic model contrasts with the individualized model dominant in urban culture. The presence of indigenous children in urban schools has been documented by Gabriela Czarny. interethnic relations in urban schools 121 . at home. Dynamic concepts of community explain the cultural transformations. appropriations. and while selling and buying. and Ivette Flores found significant differences in literacy expectations in children of ethnic origin in comparison with non-indigenous children. negotiations and re-significations that occur in educational spaces. Growing interest in indigenous migration is also seen in several theses addressing migrant knowledge and migrant worker knowledge in communities (M. Her students worked in the same context: Angélica Rojas (2006) studied the spatial and mathematical knowledge that migrant Otomí children use and negotiate. explored socio-cultural knowledge implicit in communal practices. Using interpretative anthropology. who noted the relative invisibility of indigenous children in Mexico City and by Nicanor Rebolledo (2007). Martínez Casas (2007) analyzed the strategies and mechanisms used by Otomí migrants in Guadalajara City to resignify their culture and negotiate the cultural meanings. school. semiotics and sociolinguistics. Indigenous Migration and Urban Schools This emerging line addresses the deterritorialization of ethnic boundaries at national and transnational levels. and the re-invention of imagined communities and recreation of links with territories of origin. Angel Escalante). This line has been supported notably by Guillermo de la Peña and Regina Martínez Casas.experiences with Chiapas Maya teachers (Bertely 2007). and articulated it with school knowledge and intercultural juridical literacy (Bertely & UNEM 2007). in strongly asymmetric contexts.

. The Historical Dimension of Educational Processes Although not a thematic line. Escalante 2003). The historical dimension is deemed crucial for understanding present-day configurations. many studies mentioned above include this historical dimension. as the educator State becomes an evaluator State. as an important antecedent to the cultural processes developed by native factions and their descendants in Mexico City. Adriana Robles). analyses of the social construction of schooling and the fragmentary implementation of reforms in the past have yielded important insights that explain current confrontations between educational policies and school realities. 6) shows how indigenous populations have drawn on their contemporary cultures of schooling reflect and refract sedimented educational reforms and 122 . and school-community relations in contexts of transnational migration (Alfonso Cruz ). In fact.(Elizabeth Martínez B. the attention to the temporal dimension which reflects the close relationship between anthropology and history in academic institutions. 2006a) traced a century of schooling (from 1885 to 1950) in Yalalag through documentary and epistolary files and family history. Several important collections include ethnographic and historical chapters. Additionally. Bertely (2005.5 The search for explanations has led to significant calls to historicize anthropology of education (Rockwell 1999. we highlight an important aspect of Mexican anthropology of education. For example. 2009. Street (2008) reconstructs transformations in the discourse and practice of teacher union leaders and movements that she has studied over the past thirty years. for example on indigenous education (Bertely 2006b) and on women teachers (Galván and López 2008).

and signals both the agency of collective social actors and the simultaneously enabling and constraining nature of culture (Rockwell 1996). communities and contexts of migration. Appropriation of cultural resources. anthropological theory on power and ethnicity. the exercise of power is documented in interactions between local actors and educational authorities. and the research of his colleague Marco Calderón (2002) on indigenous education in the post-revolutionary context. among others. discourse. power. particularly as developed at El Colegio de Michoacán by Andrew Roth and colleagues (Roth et al. Often conceived as control of material and symbolic resources. 2004) informs historical studies done by anthropologists. identity. A second theoretical concern appears with making explicit the relationship between culture and power that frames social action. and indigenous rights. conceived as a complex social configuration situated within historical processes. experience and subjectivity of these actors become relevant heuristic categories in the effort to explain the diversity of cultural configurations present in classrooms and schools. we suggest there is an emerging consensus around a processual and relational concept of culture. Theoretical Debates and Tensions Present in the Research We conclude by considering four interrelated concepts that reveal some of the tensions and concerns present in the field: culture. social representation. barrios.practices (2000. as shown in several studies. including his student Ávila ethnographic study of two private colleges. This conception is present at times only implicitly in the analysis of the practices (or praxis) of both traditional and emergent educational actors. By approaching culture as 123 . 2007). Finally. These studies. The social interaction. First. but also in families. occurs in both directions. help us understand the unfinished process of state-formation and consequences of neoliberal policies and their relation to Mexican education.

Mexican scholars express a renewed concern with the need to defend an education of quality for all. for example. power.mediated by power. identity and indigenous rights responds to the economic. Bertely (2005) establishes a distinction between the ethnogenetic processes that characterize historically strategic relationships of indigenous populations with public education. however. written and oral. actors and realities. In light of this reality. studies have approached cultural diversity as a product of the permanent border-crossing of cultural and identity boundaries. political and educational changes of the past two decades on the national scene. In relation to ethnicity. reveals a diverse. The emphasis of much recent research on the analysis of culture. We 124 . can be differentiated through the analysis of asymmetrical relationships. immersed in the construction of hegemony. This poses the problem of both describing social interactions in these terms and accounting for the structural and macro-social dimensions that circumscribe them. fragmentation and privatization of public education. educational realities is analyzed as conflictive processes of negotiation of the social order. and other emergent political identities (youth cultures. Specific processes. urban. The anthropological study of local cultures ethnic. youth. migrant. The call is put forth to honor the historical debts of public education in Mexico. communal school. regional. national and supranational scales (Dietz 2003). feminist or migrant identities) constituted strategically through the appropriation of cultural resources within and beyond schooling. generally leaving behind essentialist categories of identity. Within this array. linking it with long-term political struggles for indigenous rights. and to the challenge of international trends towards the diversification. by responding equally to the needs that derive from diversified contexts. complex and asymmetric landscape that is expressed at the local.

125 .hope to have contributed to this task by offering an account of the current directions and issues of anthropological research on education.

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anthropology as a discipline is strongly linked with the study of history. Some Mexican students and Latin Americans working or studying at Mexican institutions have also done studies in other countries (Peru. Colombia). Robles and Czarny 2003. Rueda 2007. through the 5 National Institute of Anthropology and History. 2003. 1 2003. although in the text we also name graduate students who produced significant studies in each line but have not published. Podestá and Martínez B. Bertely and González A. the National School of Anthropology and History. Brazil. Guatemala. and two are currently 2 doing studies in Spain and France. and its higher education institution. Argentina. In Mexico. 3 References include only a selection of publications and unpublished doctoral dissertations of the 4 past fifteen years. 138 . We thank María Elena Maruri and our students for helping us locate and review the material.Notes Previous reviews include Bertely and Corestein 1998. Rockwell 1998. Some Mexican scholars have done work on Mexican migrants to the US.