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Des catégories et de leurs usages dans la construction sociale d’un groupe de référence : "race", "ethnie" et "communauté" aux Amériques (Mascipo) – Paris, EHESS, 13-15 décembre 2006
Carmen Salazar-Soler

Comments to Lara Loveman’s Article : Whiteness in latin America as Seen Through Official Statistics (1870-1930)


Notes de la rédaction

Ce dossier est publié en collaboration avec le Journal de la Société des Américanistes. Le commentaire disponible dès maintenant sur Nuevo Mundo concerne donc un article du n°95-2 (2009) du JSA ( dont le résumé se trouve en annexe.

Texte intégral

1I would like to comment the paper presented by Mara Loveman from the Andes standpoint and precise case, that is Peru, in the 19th and 20th centuries, because it gives us food for thought on a series of matters proposed by Loveman, such as the dynamics between race categories and Latin America nation construction, relationships between race categories and power and about the race category construction process itself, permeability and the process of circulation among them. Besides, it permits us to underline Peruvian or Andean as compared to the general Latin America context. Thus, in the first part of my comment, I will try to show through the case of the city of Arequipa in the 19th and 20th century its whitening dynamics in the population where very little space is left to Mestizo identity. I’m interested in showing how in the Andes, or at least in the Peruvian case, these race dynamics were promptly marked by colonial dualism- the Indians in front of the others- and how this dualism will persist until well within 19th century, although with society evolution and mixing processes that started in the 16th century they became artificial, even if they did not disappear. Hence this case category of “white” is built upon its opposition to the Indians, a category of fluid margins grouping all those who do not want to or must not appear as Indians. We will also see how circulation among race categories occurs within a negotiation framework and it’s defined in daily interaction according to the historical context. We will also show how this bipolar colonial situation left little space for the emergence of a Mestizo identity, which will only appear as rehabilitated during the second half of the 20th century and that has been studied by Marisol de la Cadena for the Cuzco case. This Mestizo identity question Indian/others dualism as it claims itself as indigenous Mestizo. However, at the same time, by “placing Indians” in an inferior position, it justifies racism and the hierarchies imposed by power.

2When we examine the proposals of Peruvian nation builders in the 19th century concerning race (homogenization, Hispanophilia, autogeny, indigenism, …) we will be able to show the Peruvian historical contribution on the debates about race.

3Finally, permeability and circulation between one race and/or ethnic category to another makes up a truly current issue and current examples may be used to illustrate them.

4The case I will refer to and use as a guide for the first part of my comment is Arequipa’s. Sarah C. Chambers studied the situation of Arequipa between 1780 and 1854. This interesting article is titled “Little Middle Ground. The Instability of Mestizo Identity in the Andes, 18th and 19th Centuries”. As Chambers point out, in the Andes, differently from Central America, positive discourse population mixing was weak and only received State back up in the mid 20th century (2003: 32).

5We must remind the audience that is not familiarized with this Peruvian colonial situation that colonial society was organized in two republics, the Indians and the Spaniard Republics. Later, the Black Republic was added and there was stratifies hierarchy among the three orders. This division assumed the co-existence of specific laws, jurisdiction and administrative organization for each group. This division in republics makes Indians and Spaniards be most of all juridical categories that implied precise rights and duties. For example, being an Indian implied being subject to the mita service and to payment of levies that Spaniards, Creoles and Mestizos did not have to pay. This tax distinction went on modeling the social situation of Peru after independence after 1820. Even if the elites acknowledged an intermediate Mestizo category which they often related to illegitimacy and deviation, tax structure and dominant race ideologies discouraged mixed populations from embracing the Mestizo label until well within the 20th century and even when they did so it was assumed with some specificities as Marisol de la Cadena has brilliantly shown (2004).

6Arequipa played an important role during independent movement. Its economic and social elite disseminated and image of a population in the middle between Lima’s (the capital) aristocratic coastal position and the Andes Indians. Although those born in the region claimed some authenticity, they never acknowledged themselves as Mestizos. Arequipa was already at that time and still is today well known as the White City and it seems it has been so not only due to ashlar buildings, but also due to the color of its inhabitants: “Hispanics”. When we look at the 1792 census, Arequipa’s urban population is classified as follows: 66.8% Spaniards, 17.5% Mestizos, 6.4% Indians and 9.1% Blacks and Mulattoes. Evidently, these censuses were not based upon biological categories. However, it is interesting to see that census interviewers acknowledged most of the population was white, thus transforming Arequipa into the city with more white people in Peru (Chambers 2003: 35). How can you explain this situation? Chambers analyzes this case by studying the construction and reconstruction of race categories and the circulation between one category and another one. The offer shows that while the Indians received lands in exchange for paying levies, there was an incentive for some mixed-blood people to claim they were Indians, but as the region’s social dynamics evolved and none Indians started appropriating the lands, with an ever greater scarcity of those that should be distributed to levy-paying Indians, the self proclaimed Indians started to dramatically decrease. In this way, those who tried to elude the scourge of tribute stated they were Spaniards, even if officials and neighbors identified them as mixed-blood (Ibid).

7The same 1762 census shows for the Arequipa valley a 17% Indian population. What seems interesting is that many observers at that time unanimously point out that that area’s Indian population was much acculturated and that it was very difficult to tell Indians apart from non Indians. However, this important Indian percentage is explained because most of them were farmers depending on their lands for survival and as I have already mentioned, access to lands was guaranteed through levy payment (Chambers: 36). So, this time we observe a situation we currently see not only in the Andes but also in regions such as Brazil: “an Indigenization process” to guarantee access to lands. They were even ready to pay tribute to have access to lands. I will come back over this Indigenization process.

8Urban areas have a different situation. Since there was very little land to access, Indians and non Indians have very little incentive to pay levies. Documentation for this area shows a whitening process among the population. A foreign chieftain explained that not only did many Indians in his district die or migrate, but also many of them were trying to change their Indian identity “all Indians wanted to become Spaniards…” It is very interesting to point out that chieftain refers to direct transformation of those Indians into Spaniards and not into Mestizo (Chambers: 38).

9After independence, Indians lost lands much faster. In the middle of the 19th century, they were no more common lands to distribute in Arequipa. There is evidence that the amount of lands to distribute decreased, Indians started to try to escape this condition. Between 1828 and 1835, the number of levy-paying Indians in the Tiabaya locality, for example, decreased by half. Some argued that this was due to migrations or to mortality, but it is well known that migrations were seasonal. A more certain explanation is what Chambers says (2003: 38 and 39) is found if we look into marriage lists examined by census officials: suddenly many people were listed as Mestizos, a term which was, anyhow, not much used in Arequipa. This population whitening situation is confirmed by the 1852 census, where the percentage of Spaniards or white people considerably increases and that of Indians decreases. Therefore, for example, the Yanahuara authorities complained that the “caste might disappear”. This census showed many non Indians that were classified as White or Spaniards but not as Mestizos. Since there’s no evidence on Indian population decreased, perhaps an effort was being made to prevent being recorded as an Indian and having to pay levies. Landless Indians declared they were Spaniards. The Indian population decrease was not necessarily translated into an increase of Mestizo population (Chambers 2003: 41). The advanced acculturation degree facilitated the blend of Indians among the heterogeneous population. This trend, which occurred in urban areas at the beginning of the 19th century, had replications decades later in the rural areas.

10How, then, can the Mestizo figure of the 1792 census be explained? Chambers (2003: 42) says this census was compiled by authorities from outside Arequipa and that they were under Borbon authority pressure. In this same regard, documentation shows travelers that classified Arequipa population more as Mestizo or cholo (accultured Indians) instead of as Whites.

11Chambers also points out that few times did local people use the term Mestizo, it was related to the Indian population or the meaning was specified by using compound terms such as “Mestizo Spaniards” (Ibid).

12Therefore, when the Mestizo term was used, the meaning was closer to that of cholo. Actually, Chamber says (Ibid), it was assumed that Mestizos were virtual Indians. However, given to their links to the Indian character and obligation to paying levies, most mixed-blood people tried to avoid the Mestizo label. Sudden emergence of Mestizo in the 1843 census shows there is a transition state towards a clear trend to whitening: prevalence of Spaniards or Whites in the 1852 census. As I have said before, the key distinction in Indian society was the legal distinction between Indians and non Indians.

13Apparently, these Spaniards or Whites were not so biologically speaking, only a few could undergo detailed examinations of that whiteness and could claim they were absolutely Spaniards. Anyway, the local elite prevented at all times entering into this detailed examination and Gonzaga, Arequipa’s bishop, showed with his position the general consensus that it was better not to wave the flags of racial labels on behalf of social interest. This would explain the absence of race data in Arequipa documents of that time (Chambers 2003: 44) This leads us to think about Loveman’s statement of how Whites were built as a non problem issue, as an obvious and inherent characteristic at individual level, and as a variable, uncertain and plastic characteristic at collective national level.

14Chambers (2003: 45-46) summarizes Mestizo situation by saying that instead of developing a unified identity in Arequipa, they intended to be grouped in legal or cultural terms, be it as Spaniards or as Indians. The author also says that white people’s dominant identity emerging in Arequipa was both inclusive and exclusive: by racially classifying the other as someone from outside Arequipa (Black from the coast and Indian from the highlands), it rejected the cultural contribution of each one of these groups to local societies and justified common lands dispossession. Nevertheless, many of these individuals who under the legal regard were considered as racially mixed, were treated as white in daily life.

15In another region of Peru, Huaylas, M. Turner (1997) found evidence suggesting that peasants who defined themselves as Mestizos for tax reasons actually identified themselves more as Spaniards or as Indians. For example, a document referred to “Mestizos who call themselves Whites and who had settled in Indian Villages”. When levy was abolished, the number of peasants identifying themselves as Indians significantly increased, showing that many had claimed that they were Mestizos to avoid levies. On the contrary, in the rare occasions in which these mixed people assumed their Mestizo identity, it was precisely when officials tried to place them with Indians for paying levies.

16Independence provided the chance for separating ethnic identity from tax status. However, Republican states in the Andes faced a financial crisis which caused levies to Indians to persist. In Peru, the government also created a new tax for the people from the castes, but is was very hard to collect, mostly in urban areas.

17For Republican State founders, promoting national Mestizo identity would have clashed with a tax policy that distinguished Indians from the others, rejecting the universal citizenship definition. Moreover, incentive to proclaim a Spanish identity went on the increase in regions were caste taxes had to be paid, thus resulting increase of Mestizos at first and of Whites then in villages around Arequipa between the 1843 and 1852 censuses (Chambers 2003: 47).

18This translation of race categories from one to the other to benefit from or avoid disadvantages before them is something still practiced today.

19Let me use a contemporary example. In a recent work (Salazar-Soler, 2006), I analyzed peasant community combat discourse against miner companies in Peru and I detected a process I have called “etnicization” of discourse. I have called this process: From Indian to Peasant and from Peasant to Indian: the return.

20At the beginning of this comment I mentioned that the Indian category was a taxing category and that levies did not disappear with Independence. After levies were abolished and as Peruvian society evolved, as we will see later, Indian become a synonym of Andean people for parts of the society, but there were also considered as lagging behind and in some cases as barbarians. For other people, they were the essence of the Peruvian character, based upon which Cuzco nationalism could be built. During general Velasco Alvarado’s military government in 1968, the use of the Indian category was banned, arguing it bore a pejorative hint and translated the social condition of colonial times. Then it was replaced for peasant. For some time now, peasant communities advised by NGO’s who accompany them in the struggle against mining companies, are starting a re-indigenization process to put themselves under the protective umbrella of ILO’s agreement 169, stipulating the protection of indigenous and native communities’ territories. A Huancavelican expressed so with the following words: “In land owner times, they called us yanaconas, Velasco gave us the land and called us peasants. Now, with Agreement 169, which give us the right to claim our lands from the mine, we shall call ourselves natives (…)”.

21Another current example is also the result of field work in a department of Peru where there is a majority of “traditional” population, Huancavelica. In the 1980’s, I started field work with the miners of this region and one of the first pieces of information I collected and analyzed was the personal cards migrant peasants who entered to work in the mine had to fill in before starting to work. Among their personal data, there was race divides into: White, Mestizo and Indian, in that order. Mining employers were the ones who filled in the form, and they told me race was the single piece of information they filled in without asking the migrants. If one looks into statistics resulting form the analysis of those cards from 1953 to 1980, one can realize there is whitening of the population. Hence in the 50s, the proportion of Indian workers was a majority, followed from far by Mestizos and some exceptional cases of Whites. As we compare that to the 70s, we realize that Indians have disappeared and many Mestizos have instead appeared. As we just said, this is due to the fact that during general Velasco Alvarado’s military government, the term Indian was banned and replaced by peasant. Peasant is not a race category (Salazar-Soler, 2002).

22But let us go back to the beginning of the 19th century. This distinction between Indians and others with tax aims went on until the beginning of the 19th century. A neo colonial language of civilization and barbarism was then added. In Peru, the coast was linked to modernity and the Andes to backwardness. This permitted people from Lima to proclaim a white identity beyond skin color (Chamber 2003: 47). Thus, in the coast, Creoles were labeled as White independently their biological traits. Meanwhile, in the highlands its inhabitants were considered as Indians and the jungle was appointed as the habitat of primitive tribes. This is how racial construction in Peru became parallel to the space construction political process because races were allotted to some hierarchically ordered geographic space according to an evolutionist scheme (ibid).

23Province elites from cities such as Arequipa and Cuzco made similar claims based upon education and decency, thus frequently opposing the perception others outside had about them. Nil Jacopsen (1993) has studied the Azangaro case, a province in the southern Puno department, which shows the decrease of Mestizo population and correlative increase of white population between the 1798 and 1876 censuses. This author concluded that Mestizos had become a residual group, whose lifestyle, revenues and blood purity conditions prevented them from being place at the summit of the society’s polarized ethnic vision where, on the one hand, we found that civilized hacendados (large land owners), civil and religious authorities and the best traders were considered as white. They lived as white. They led a modern lifestyle while, on the other hand, the majority of barbaric Indians persisted with their anachronistic customs.

24Racial ideology of Peru’s elites in the 19th century perpetuated the dichotomy. The few ones that tried to give a positive face to race diversity among the population emphasized white versions of race mixing with one final objective: Hispanization (Chambers: 48). In Arequipa, this showed, for example, through an article of the 1833 official gazette where a precocious assimilation vision was anonymously promoted to “dilute and homogenize castes”. The author significantly established a relationship between racial policies and liberal policies, affirming that the Indian population had lagged behind not due to inherents defects but due to lack of education and inexistence of true equality. Several other proposals for civilizing the population through education similarly emphasized Hispanic objectives instead of race mixing. However, differently from other nations in Latin America, politicians who thought that all the population could be homogenized nation-wide were just a few. Therefore, race mixing never became an official State policy.

25During that century in which many of the Peruvian nation builders proposed a so-called constructed miscegenation (elements opposing race mixing started to praise the benefits of race mixing) as a reaction to debates that arrived from Europe on the degenerative effects of hybridization, but also as an alternative to the race problem in Peru. Thus for example, at the end of 1860, Manuel Anastasio Fuentes, alluding to the mixture in Peru described Lima as a “multicolored garden”, a characteristic connected to the city’s progressive nature. For this offer, immorality among low classes did not come from miscegenation but from the negative elements of their original pure races. Miscegenation, on the contrary, led to progress. We must underscore that these proposals came up during economic bonanza (de la Cadena 2004 : 31).

26If during the 1860 decade the elites rejected the so-called degeneration hybrids supposed, boasting sophisticated erudition and intellectual capacity, at the end of the century, when politicians defended liberalism and progressive ideologies, education started to have a central role as a tool to build the nation and for racial homogenization. Education became the primary instrument for the constructive miscegenation project proposed by Lima (de la Cadena 2004: 32).

27Politics considering superior race immigration, according to eugenic schemes, were developed together with proposals in favor of educational programs considered critical for race improvement in the country. We must remember that Javier Prado, the Peruvian leader of philosophical positivism and Comtian sociology, president of Universidad Mayor de San Marcos, favored breeding by compatible races and supported State policies that promoted European migration to solve Peru’s race situation. As for Francisco Graña, another Peruvian intellectual, he coined the term autogeny as an alternative to eugenics. Instead of improving race through breeding, autogeny is the attempt at improving it from within itself, raising health standards, nutrition and education of groups considered as inferior (de la Cadena 2004: 33-34).

28I would also like to add a peculiarity already pointed out by M. de la Cadena (2004: 35-36) in the Peruvian case, which is that a cultural definition of race was favored at that time. In it, biology was either subordinated to race’s cultural aspects or, as in the socialist thought of José Carlos Mariátegui, discarded as a fiction. Race could be biological but also the soul of the people, culture, spirit and language. In sum, race was circumscribed to culture. At this time, some intellectuals in Peru denied the existence of pure races and even ridiculed those people who introduced themselves as pure Whites. Perhaps this self-awareness about skin color could have had them minimize the idea of phenotype and to privilege intellectual merit in their considerations of racial hierarchies as de la Cadena points out. Finally, this faith in the power of education to racially redeem the country was compatible with mixed breeding.

29An alternative ideology, promoted by Cuzco’s elite, came up. It rejected the coast’s Hispanophilia and stated that the core for building the new Peruvian national identity was in the Inca past. Indigenism was the scholar face of this Cuzco nationalism. But this alternative just perpetuate dichotomy by passing itself in the Indian racial and cultural purity as opposed to assimilation.

30A critical factor in Cuzco indigenism was its rejection of Mestizos and the consideration that pro-Mestizo opinions were anti-Indians. They stated that Indians should stay in their places of origin and despised Mestizos who had abandoned their own natural and cultural context and had migrated to cities where they had morally degenerated as it could be seen through deviant sexuality (de la Cadena 2004: 42). In this regard, they shared their hatred for Mestizos with European and North American racial thinkers. As S. Chambers (2003) points out, there was little space for race mixing between assimilation and indigenous purity.

31As I just said, and as Marisol de la Cadena had already suggested, racial rhetoric in Peru has been full of allusions to culture, soul and spirit since the end of the 19th century. This usually tended to mine the importance of skin color as a racial marker. According to de la Cadena (2004 : 32-43) this resulted in two daily and inseparable conceptual processes. On the one hand race was assigned to culture and, on the other hand, race was rationalized. In this regard, the author says, we can state that the historical contribution of Peruvian debate has been to emphasize spiritual aspects of the race and privilege culture over biology, in some sort of racial culturalism. Hence, the fact of being a Mestizo in Peru was not necessarily related with skin color, but it was a hybrid combination of race and class at the same time. “This not necessarily coincided with the European description of race mixing in terms of biological hybridity, which permitted Peruvian elites to challenge the perception Europeans had about them as hybrids” (ibid).

32It was only at the end of the 20th century that, according to Marisol de la Cadena, a group of Peruvians started to publicly claim Mestizo identity. De la Cadena (2004: 22) points out that in the Peruvian 19th and 20th century history there are two meanings for Mestizo: one is a culturally raciallized (Spanish and Indian) mixture that evolved from a primitive Indian character to a more civilized stage that was incompatible with indigenous manners. The other meaning was the one working class cuzqueños she interviewed gave to Mestizo, as literate people who were economically successful and shared cultural practices with Indians but who, however did nor perceive themselves as miserable, a condition attributed to Indians. “Far from establishing an equation between “indigenous culture” and “being Indian” – label bearing the inferiority colonial historical stigma- they see the Indian character as a social condition reflecting individual failure to achieve educational progress (Ibid: 22). As a consequence of this redefinition, indigenous or Andean culture exceed the ambit of Indian character and includes Cuzqueño people who are proud of their rural origins and who proclaim an indigenous cultural legacy but who, nevertheless, reject being labeled as Indians. They proudly call themselves “Mestizos” (Ibid: 22-23).

33De la Cadena (2004: 23) has called this process “deindigenization”. She states that deindigenization is a complex process by which Cuzqueños from working classes have reproduced racism, while at the same time they have fought it. Deindeginization does not imply getting rid of indigenous culture and subconsciously integrating. It does not mean “becoming assimilated” either and, therefore, disappearing in cultural terms. On the contrary, de la Cadena states, it is through an active deindigenization that lesser “Cuzqueños have redefined essentialist notions of culture by substituting regional beliefs in fixed identities for infinite degrees of fluid “Indian” or “Mestizo” characters (Ibid). These Cuzqueños measure said degrees in relative terms through a number of factors, such as literacy people involved in an interaction, their relative success in urban jobs; “the individual who show greater achievement in activities will be seen as less Indian and, subsequently, as the Mestizo in the interaction”. Within this perspective, Indians and Mestizo arise from specific interactions and not from general abstract evolution.

34Deindigenization implies an anti evolutionist impulse since it opens a possibility of social progress without leaving behind indigenous forms and emphasizes the difference between indigenous culture –as the social condition of post colonial times- and Indian character – as the social condition of colonial and inferior times. De la Cadena states that deindigenization discourse permits popular intellectuals to reinvent indigenous culture stripped from the stigmatized Indian character that elites assigned it from colonial times. Nevertheless, since this liberating process continues defining Indian character as an inferior condition in the region, it leaves room for racism to persist.

35This same Mestizo indigenous self-identification is what I have been able to confirm among workers in a mining center of Peru’s southern highlands in the 80’s. They said they were different from “Indians” from the heights because they had been able to access the “modern” and urban world of mines and to have revenues considerably higher than those of peasant in the area. At the same time, they said they were still “runa (people in quechua)” because they went on participating from indigenous culture and having a kinship network in their places of origin. At that time, I called those miners as runa-miners. This means that becoming included in the mine did not mean breaking with their rural origins nor with a cultural indigenous legacy they proudly claimed themselves.

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Chambers, Sarah, “Little middle ground. The Instability of a Mestizo Identity in the Andes, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”, N. Appelhaum et al. (edits.), Race and Nation in Modern Latin America, Chapell Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 2003, pp. 32-55.

De la Cadena, Marisol, Indígenas mestizos. Raza y cultura en el Cusco, Lima, IEP, 2004.

Jacopsen, Nils, Mirages of Transition: The Peruvian Altiplano, 1780-1930, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1993.

Salazar-Soler, Carmen, Anthropologie des mineurs des Andes. Dans les entrailles de la terre, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2002.

Salazar-Soler, Carmen, “Les trésors de l’Inca et Mère Nature: ethnoécologie et lutte contre les companies minières dans le nord du Pérou”, L’ordinaire Latino-américain, n°24, Dossier coordonné par V. Robin: “(Des) illusions des politiques multiculturelles”, 2006.

Thurner, Mark, From Two Republics to One Divided: Contradictions of Postcolonial Nationmaking in Andean Peru, Durham, Duke University Press, 1997.

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Whiteness in Latin America: Measurement and Meaning in National Censuses (1850-1950)

Mara Loveman

Drawing on an analysis of all national censuses conducted in Latin America from 1850 to 1950, this article examines how tacit assumptions about the nature of « whiteness » informed the production of statistical knowledge about Latin American populations. For insight into implicit racial beliefs that shaped censustaking in this period, the article considers how census agents accomplished three basic tasks: 1) identifying the « race » of individuals in the population; 2) preparing statistical tables to publicize census results; and, 3) projecting the racial composition of national populations in the future. The analysis identifies variation in notions of « whiteness » across the region, but also points to a set of broadly shared premises about the nature, value, and boundaries of whiteness that transcended nation-state boundaries in this period. Fundamental similarities in ideas about whiteness found in Latin American censuses appear even more starkly when the scope of analysis expands to include the censuses of the United States.

census, race, racial classification, whiteness, Latin America.

La blancura en América Latina: medición y sentido en los censos nacionales (1850-1950)

A partir del análisis de todos los censos nacionales realizados en América Latina entre 1850 y 1950, este artículo examina cómo las premisas tácitas sobre la « blancura » formaron parte de la producción del saber estadístico sobre las poblaciones latinoamericanas. Con el fin de esclarecer las creencias raciales implícitas que se plasmaron en los censos de este período, el artículo distingue tres funciones básicas realizadas por los agentes del censo: 1) identificar la « raza » de cada individuo; 2) preparar cuadros estadísticos para publicar los resultados; 3) proyectar la composición racial futura de la población nacional. El análisis identifica variaciones en las nociones de la « blancura » a través de la región, pero también establece un conjunto de premisas ampliamente compartidas sobre la naturaleza, el valor, y los deslindes de la « blancura », que sobrepasaban las fronteras nacionales de esa época. Estas premisas compartidas son aún más notables cuando se comparan con las premisas implícitas y explícitas sobre la « blancura » que informaban los censos de los Estados Unidos de América durante el mismo período.

censo, raza, clasificación racial, blancura, America Latina.

Les Blancs en Amérique latine: mesure et signification dans les recensements nationaux (1850-1950)

Fondé sur l’analyse de tous les recensements nationaux effectués en Amérique latine entre 1850 et 1950, le présent article examine la façon dont certains paradigmes tacites sur la « blancheur » ont modelé la production de connaissance statistique sur les populations latino-américains. Afin de clarifier les croyances raciales implicites qui se sont exprimées dans ces recensements, l’article distingue trois opérations de base effectuées par les agents du recensement: 1) identifier la « race » de chaque individu; 2) préparer des tableaux statistiques pour la publication des résultats; 3) projeter la future composition raciale de la population nationale. L’analyse identifie des variations dans la notion de « Blanc » à travers la région, mais révèle aussi une série de paradigmes largement partagés sur la nature, la valeur et les limites de ce qu’est un Blanc, qui traversait les frontières nationales de l’époque. La recherche conclut que les similitudes régionales en Amérique latine sur la signification de la « blancheur » sont encore plus remarquables quand on les compare avec les paradigmes implicites et explicites sur la « blancheur » dans les recensements des États-Unis pendant la même période.

recensement, race, classification raciale, blancheur, Amérique latine.

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Référence électronique

Carmen Salazar-Soler, « Comments to Lara Loveman’s Article : Whiteness in latin America as Seen Through Official Statistics (1870-1930) », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Colloques, mis en ligne le 06 novembre 2009, consulté le 27 juin 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/nuevomundo.57373

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Carmen Salazar-Soler


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