This article challenges the assumption that the underlying principles of state-endorsed ‘multiculturalism’ stand in tension with neoliberal political-economic policies. Based on ethnographic research in Guatemala, it is argued that neoliberalism's cultural project entails pro-active recognition of a minimal package of cultural rights, and an equally vigorous rejection of the rest. The result is a dichotomy between recognised and recalcitrant indigenous subjects, which confronts the indigenous rights movement as a ‘menace’ even greater than the assimilationist policies of the previous era. It is suggested that the most effective response to this menace is probably not to engage in frontal opposition to neoliberal regimes, but rather to refuse the dichotomy altogether.
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