Culture nationality and identity Culture

Download 302.5 Kb.
Size302.5 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6
Culture nationality and identity

Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate")[1] is a term that has many different meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.[2] However, the word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:

  • Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture

  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning

  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group

Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state. Citizenship is determined by jus soli, jus sanguinis, or naturalization. In some areas of the world, one's nationality is determined by their ethnicity, rather than citizenship. Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state.

Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to a nationality," and "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality." By custom, it is the right of each state to determine who its nationals are. Such determinations are part of nationality law. In some cases, determinations of nationality are also governed by public international law—for example, by treaties on statelessness and the European Convention on Nationality.



the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions: The identity of the fingerprints on the gun with those on file provided evidence that he was the killer.


the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another: He doubted his own identity.


condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is: a case of mistaken identity.

Culture Name

Ecuadorian; ecuatoriano (masc.), ecuatoriana (fem.)

Alternative Names

Republic of Ecuador, República del Ecuador (official name, in Spanish), El Ecuador

Identification. In 1830, Ecuador took its name from the Spanish word for the equator, which crosses the entire northern sector. The three mainland regions are referred to as the Coast, the Sierra, and Amazonia, or the Oriente ("east"). A constitutional democracy, Ecuador is a multicultural, multiethnic nation–state that many consider multinational. It has one of the highest representations of indigenous cultures in South America and two distinct Afro–Ecuadorian cultures. The dominant populace is descended primarily from Spanish colonists and settlers and to a lesser extent from German, Italian, Lebanese, and Asian immigrants. Spanish is the national language; thirteen indigenous languages are spoken, of which the principal ones are Quichua in the Sierra and the Oriente and Jivaroan in the Oriente.

The citizens take great pride in being Ecuadorian and refer to themselves as ecuatorianos(-as) and gente (people). Despite continuing discrimination, indigenous and black citizens identify themselves as Ecuadorians as well as native people or black people.

The elites and those in the upper–middle classes are oriented toward education, personal achievement, and the modern consumerism of Euro–North America. People in these classes regard themselves as muy culto ("very cultured"), and while they may learn English, French, or German as part of their formal education, most disavow knowledge of any indigenous language.

People in the upper and upper–middle classes generally identify by skin color as blanco ("white"), to distinguish themselves from those whom they regard as "below" them. The prevalent concept of mestizaje is an elitist ideology of racial miscegenation, implying "whitening." Those who self–identify as "white" may use the term "mestizo" for themselves, as in blanco–mestizo , to show how much lighter they are than other "mestizos."

Black people, represented by their leaders as Afro–Ecuadorians, (afroecuatorianos) , speak Spanish and range through the middle to lower classes. They are concentrated in the northwest coastal province of Esmeraldas, the Chota–Mira River Valley of the northern Andes, and the city of Guayaquil. A sizable black population lives in sectors of the Quito metropolitan area, and there is a concentration in the oil-rich Amazonian region.

The cultures of the indigenous people are rich and varied, but there are commonalities across languages and societies. The Quichua (pronounced Kéechua) speakers of the Andes and Amazonia are differentiated from one another, but come together when common causes arise. Quichua includes the northern dialects of Quechua, the language of the imperial Inca. In Quichua and Quechua people identify as Runa ("fully human"), and their language as runa shimi ("human speech").

All of the nationalities identify in their own languages as both fully human beings and as Ecuadorians. There is no word resembling indio ("indian") in indigenous languages, and the use of that term is deeply resented. In Spanish, the term for indigenous person ( indígena ) is preferred, though gente (person, human being) is the most appropriate designation for any Ecuadorian. People throughout Ecuador make it very clear that identification as Ecuadorian is for all people, and is not only for the elite and upper–middle classes.

Location and Geography. Ecuador, which is 109,493 square miles (283,600 square kilometers;


about the size of Oregon), is located in western South America, the second smallest South American nation. Its topography is dramatic. Two cordilleras split the nation into coastal, Andean, and Amazonian regions. The Galápagos Islands lie 600 miles (965 kilometers) off the Pacific coast. The nation is flanked on the north by Colombia and on the east and south by Peru. The coastal region ranges from a tropical rain forest in the north to a mixed wet–dry monsoon region for the rest of the region. A third fairly low cordillera runs intermittently along the coastal strip. The Andes region has a number of snow–capped volcanic mountains, dominated by Chimborazo (20,596 feet; 6,278 meters) and Cotopaxi (19,613 feet; 5,978 meters). Rich, fertile valleys, or basins, lie in the inter–Andean region known as the Corridor of the Volcanoes. The Amazonian topography is highly varied, ranging from mountainous regions that tower well over 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) to Amazonian biotopes.

Demography. The population of Ecuador is estimated as approaching fourteen million and is under–enumerated. It is divided almost evenly between the Coast and the Sierra. The Amazonian region consists of only about 6 percent of the nation's population. Guayaquil, the major coastal city with nearly four million people, and the Andean capital, Quito, with its two million people, constitute the powerful polarities of a political–economic coastal–sierran divide. Both metropolitan areas vie for control of the nation's wealth and power. Indigenous people may comprise as much as 25 percent to 35 percent of the republic, and black people about 7 percent. When those descended from indigenous or Afro–Ecuadorian parents or ancestors are added to these statistics, people who from an elite and upper–middle–class perspective carry the "taint" of ethnicity become the majority. The Quichua– speaking people constitute the largest indigenous population of about two million, followed by the Jivaroans who number between 50,000 and 70,000. The smallest group, the Zaparoans, number only a handful of actual speakers. The other indigenous groups range between 500 and 1300.

Linguistic Affiliation. Spanish, called castellano , is the official Ecuadorian language. According to the 1998 constitution, the state guarantees the system of bilingual, intercultural education that uses the principal language of a particular culture and Spanish as the idiom of intercultural relations.

The indigenous nationalities speak various languages that belong to different linguistic families. Quichua is spoken by most indigenous people in the Sierra and by the largest indigenous group in Amazonia. Well–known cultural clusters in the Sierra include the Otavalo of Imbabura–Carchi, the Tigua–Zumbagua of Cotopaxi, the Colta of Chimborazo, the Cañari of Cañar and Azuay, and the Saraguro of Loja. The Awa, Chachi, and Tscháchila of the northern coastal region speak mutually intelligible dialects of Barbacoan. In the Amazonian region, Shuar, Achuar, and Shiwiar are Jivaroan languages, though those identifying with the latter may speak Achuar, Shuar, Quichua, or Záparo. The Waorani, Záparo, and Cofán (A'i) speak languages unrelated to other language families of South America, and the Siona and Secoya speak Western Tukanoan.

Quechua, subsuming Quichua, has twelve million speakers ranging from southern Colombia to Argentina in the Andes, and Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru in Amazonia. It is the largest Native American language. The Jivaroan languages (Shuar, Huambisa, Achuar, and Aguaruna) are spoken in northeastern Peru; Cofán is spoken in Colombia; Siona and Secoya are spoken in Colombia and Peru.

A public square in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

All indigenous languages are native to South America; they are not derived from pidgin or creole. Black people speak their own dialects of Spanish and generally do not learn indigenous languages. Bilingualism and multilingualism are common in Amazonia, where the Achuar and Canelos Quichua intermarry, and there is increasing intermarriage among people in diverse language families. Spanish is common as a second or third language among indigenous people, and English, French, and German are used by those who have been educated abroad or who have traveled extensively in Europe or the United States.

Symbolism. Identity as Ecuadorian has many key symbols. La patria ("the motherland") is complemented by el país, "the fatherland" (country). The former is the more powerful evocative referent of collective identity. While el país may be in chaos, la patria endures. The government, el gobierno ,is closely related to the fatherland. It expresses itself through el estado ("the state"). The people look to the government for sustenance and protection, but also expect corruption. When the government cannot serve the people, they rise up as one. The common collective chant during such uprisings is el pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido ("the united people will never be defeated"). The feminine concept of la nación ("nation") is weaker than the other two, as is the collective idea of an estado–nación ("nation– state"). While scholars debate whether Ecuador is a true nation or nation–state, the people identify with la patria and look to el gobierno for salvation of individual and collective self, as citizens of el país . "Governability" is another key symbol in Ecuador, and every leader has stated that Ecuador is very difficult to govern, or that governability is impossible.

The national flag (the "tricolor") emerged in the union of Gran Colombia in 1820s. A broad horizontal yellow stripe represents the sun, fount of all natural abundance; a red stripe is for the blood of the heroes who fell in the making of a nation, specifically those who died in Quito; and the central blue strip is for the sky. The national coat of arms, which is also part of the national flag, features the union of Coast and Sierra. The condor, the national bird, is on top of the coat of arms. In the 1960s the Central Bank of Ecuador took as its emblem a golden sun mask from the La Tolita archaeological culture of Esmeraldas Province. In the 1990s the indigenous organization CONAIE appropriated this same mask as its own emblem of multinationality of el pueblo . One of Ecuador's most powerful collective symbols, which appears on some official stationery and in other places, is ¡el Ecuador es, ha sido, y será, país amazónico! (Ecuador has been, is, and will be, an Amazonian country!). This slogan arose after Peru attacked Ecuador in the war of 1941. After brief but costly wars in 1981 and 1995, the boundary dispute was resolved in October 1998. With the acceptance of the treaty, Ecuadorians everywhere reported feeling as though a limb had been amputated from the collective body of el país long after the Peruvian violation of la patria .On 12 May 1999, presidents Jamil Mahuad and Alberto Fujimori presented a new symbol of unity—the Spondylus shell—evidence of ancient long-distance trade between the native peoples of Ecuador and Peru—renewing their nations' cooperation in development and prosperity.

The national anthem reflects these themes. It is played and sung, often with all of its verses, at all public gatherings in every setting, including those involving nationalities that may be at odds with the government, the nation, and the nation–state. Every television station signs on with the national anthem, often accompanied by pictures of the national flag flying and the golden sun mask radiating. Also included are ethnic and geographic scapes that remind everyone of the topographical and cultural diversity of the country.

Two key symbols represent both cultural– biological centralization and homogenization and diversification, human integrity, and dignity. The first is that of mestizaje , which is promulgated by the elite, who descend from Europeans. It refers to a body of blended Ecuadorians who occupy the middle to lower classes. It is confronted constantly by the second symbol of nacionalidad ("nationality") which refers to being culturally distinct in an oppressive nationalist state. The most prominent nationality in Ecuador is that of the Quichua– speaking people. In the 1970s their slogan was a common greeting in the Inca Empire: ama shua, ama llulla, ama quilla ("don't steal, don't lie, don't be lazy"). The indigenous–based social–political movement pachakutik ("return to the land"), formed in 1996, chose as its flag a rainbow spectrum, representing the anaconda, which emerges from the Amazonian lowlands to unite people from the Andes and Amazonia. This rainbow flag was combined with the golden sun and Inca greeting to build a master set of symbols of a diverse yet unified body. These symbols are now nationally recognized, defining an indigenous space of dynamic nationalities within the republic.

Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4   5   6

The database is protected by copyright © 2019
send message

    Main page