UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mapping colonial patterns of western knowledge in elementary textbooks of Natural Sciences and History, Geography and Social Sciences for Chilean rural education Oyanedel-Frugone, Rosario


In Chile's rural schools, cognitive, affective and relational violence are frequent experiences. From a decolonial standpoint, this thesis aims to make evident harmful patterns in Natural Sciences (NatS) textbooks and those of History, Geography and Social Sciences (HGeoSS) currently use in Chile’s rural schools. It also wants to localize those arrangements in textbooks’ sanctioned knowledge that facilitate and normalize cognitive violence against Indigenous students and, to a lesser extent, against mestizo rural students. This thesis focuses on those approaches of decolonial theory that investigate the interconnection between language and knowledge production with colonial-modernity or imperialism. I reviewed some contributions from postcolonial studies, modernity/coloniality studies and Indigenous studies. These revisions imply understanding that “colonial modernity” is not only the context where Chilean formal education unfolds but also a condition schooling itself makes possible. In this sense, “colonial modernity” is a structuring foundation of all dominant (western) social and power relations, materials, processes, thought, and consciousness. Such a structuring foundation divides the world and with-it humanity into two, presumably, separate groups and makes possible dichotomic distinctions between people (here I am referring to the notion of abyssal thought. See Sousa Santos, 2007). I conducted a content analysis through the lenses of decolonial thought and created a discussion through social cartography to answer the primary question. This question is: What harmful colonial discourses are present in Chile’s elementary textbooks, including those that are explicitly colonial and those that implicitly reproduce colonial patterns? I assumed an “inductive” approach to qualitative content analysis that implied that the topics for the study emerged from the textbooks, the main research question, and the theoretical framework informing this thesis. The inductive approach avoids the use of theory as explanatory of reality. This way, the analysis I propose here is not intended to be prescriptive of the sources I reviewed. The general conclusion of this thesis is the identification of colonial patterns in textbooks. And also the understanding that this identification is only one part of the long-term decolonizing work, which also requires interrupting and disinvesting our individual and collective investments in those harmful colonial patterns that reproduce colonial-modernity.

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