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Education Policies and Counter-Hegemony in Bolivarian Venezuela

INVESTIGACIONES. Forschungen zu Lateinamerika; 27

Margarita Langthaler

Wien: Praesens Verlag, Februar 2020 | 978-3-7069-1039-2

From its inception in 1999, the Bolivarian transformation process in Venezuela aimed at social justice and participatory democracy. Education played a key role. ‘Education for all’ was as much an important claim of the Bolivarian social movements as it was a government objective. Moreover, education served as a major tool in constructing a new cultural hegemony. This book analyses the Bolivarian education policies applied in Venezuela between 1999 and 2009 in terms of whether and how they have helped or hindered the emergence of a new hegemony. In doing so, it draws on a critical realist interpretation of the Gramscian concept of hegemony and on the premises of dependency theory applied to the education sector. It concludes that Bolivarian education policies have substantially supported political agency of Venezuela’s popular classes thus stimulating the emergence of new and more democratic state-society relations. However, the continuing existence of an elitist education sector ended up reproducing social inequalities and eventually undermined the Bolivarian government’s objective to create, by way of education, a new social order based on social justice and participatory democracy.

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