Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui explores the possibilities for decolonization through an analysis of the “multicultural” state as an ongoing practice of coloniality that recognizes and incorporates indigenous people but only as static, archaic figures defined by a continuous relationship to an idealized past. As Cusicanqui demonstrates, this truncated recognition subordinates indigenous people, depriving them of their contemporaneity, complexity, and dynamism and, therefore, of their potential to challenge the given order. Coloniality and its relations of domination, she claims, are also reproduced in the knowledge production of academic scholars of decoloniality, primarily from the global North. These academics, she argues, appropriate the language and ideas of indigenous scholars without grappling with the relations of force that define their relationships to them, thus decontextualizing and depoliticizing these concepts and marginalizing indigenous scholars from their own debates. Counterposing the Aymara concept of ch'ixi—a parallel coexistence of difference—to multiculturalism and hybridity, which incorporates and flattens or distorts difference, Cusicanqui shows that decolonization must be not only a discourse but also an affirmative practice.

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