Paraguayan National Identity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Abstract

Paraguay is a pluriethnic, plurilingual, and multicultural society, influenced by migration from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, which contains many conflicting identities. Despite its heterogeneity, there are certain characteristics which have been seen by Paraguayan and foreign writers as having significant influence on national identity. These are primarily related to three factors: Paraguay’s geographical position as a landlocked country, between two regional superpowers, and the resulting historical isolation; the prevalence of Guarani as the favored language of the vast majority of Paraguayans, and its relationship with Spanish; and the impact of international war and defense of its frontiers, primarily the Triple Alliance War (1864–1870), on Paraguay’s economic, cultural, and political development, as well as on its self-perception.

However, Paraguay is also unusual in that following the catastrophe of the Triple Alliance War, there was a concerted effort by a group of intellectuals to challenge the liberal consensus and reinterpret the past to create a national history. This revisionist approach became increasingly influential until, after the Chaco War (1932–1936) and the end of the liberal period, it became the dominant “official” version. Here it subsequently remained through civil war, dictatorship, and finally transition to democracy. While many observers believed this hegemonic revisionist version would disappear with the end of the Stroessner regime in 1989, it has proved more resilient, flexible, and durable than expected, reflecting a high level of internalization of national identity. This in turn suggests that the official discourse was not purely an invention of tradition but was constructed on deeply held ideas of geographical, cultural, historical, and linguistic difference
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationLatin American History
PublisherOxford University Press
DOIs
StatusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameOxford Research Encyclopedias
PublisherOxford University Press

Fingerprint

National Identity
Paraguay
Alliances
Revisionist
Economics
Africa
Writer
Multicultural Societies
Catastrophe
Dictatorship
National History
Isolation
Transition to Democracy
Self-perception
Discourse
Chaco
Asia
Observer
Invention of Tradition
Language

Cite this

Lambert, P. (2016). Paraguayan National Identity. In Latin American History (Oxford Research Encyclopedias). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.88

Paraguayan National Identity. / Lambert, Peter.

Latin American History. Oxford University Press, 2016. (Oxford Research Encyclopedias).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Lambert, P 2016, Paraguayan National Identity. in Latin American History. Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.88
Lambert P. Paraguayan National Identity. In Latin American History. Oxford University Press. 2016. (Oxford Research Encyclopedias). https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.88
Lambert, Peter. / Paraguayan National Identity. Latin American History. Oxford University Press, 2016. (Oxford Research Encyclopedias).
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