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Title:Quechua and Spanish in the urban Andes: A study on language dynamics and identity construction among Peruvian youth
Author(s):Firestone, Amy
Director of Research:Escobar, Anna Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Escobar, Anna Maria
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bowles, Melissa A.; Jacobsen, Nils P.; Moodie, Ellen; Byrd, Jodi A.
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Quechua language
language revitalization
identity construction
urban youth
Andean culture
Abstract:This dissertation analyzes first-generation youth’s linguistic and social practices in the construction of a new urban Andean identity in Peru. Since the 1940s, socio-economic events have led to massive migration of Quechua speakers from rural to urban areas. Migration has been understood as negatively affecting the vitality of Quechua in the cities, where Spanish is the dominant language. Using an ethnographic approach that is centered on youth’s voices, the results of this study reveal, however, that Quechua and other cultural traditions are maintained and revitalized by first-generation youth, especially when parents are not present. Ethnographic research was carried out among first-generation youth in three families in Ayacucho and Arequipa, two historically distinct Peruvian Andean cities that have been the center for migration in Peru. In both cities, the results show that the family's economic practices, that can take place in rural, urban, and international spaces, are the driving force in determining the degree of contact that youth have with Quechua and other rural cultural traditions. Quechua and Spanish use are also found to be on a rural/urban continuum, in which different degrees of mixture or combinado are found depending on the space/location of the interaction, interlocutors present, and symbolic value of the language. My research draws attention to the economic and social dynamics of life in the urban Andes, represented in the Chakra Model, which helps understand the vitality of Quechua in Peru in the 21st century. This research moves away from labeling Andeans, and instead focuses on understanding how first-generation youth construct their urban Andean identity, thus providing a “bottom-up” perspective to life in the urban Andes.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Amy Rebecca Firestone with all rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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