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Transforming the Nation? The Bolivarian Education Reform in Venezuela

  • JARED A. ABBOTT, HILLEL DAVID SOIFER and MATTHIAS VOM HAU
Abstract

The Chávez government introduced a ‘Bolivarian’ national curriculum to promote radically different understandings of Venezuelan history and identity. We place the fate of this reform initiative within the broader study of state formation and nationalism. Scholars have long identified mass schooling as the key institution for socialising citizens and cultivating national loyalties, and many states have attempted to alter the nationalist content of schooling with these ends in mind. Venezuela constitutes an ideal case for identifying the specific conditions under which transformations of official national ideologies do and do not gain broader resonance. Using evidence derived from textbook analysis and semi-structured interviews with educational officials and teachers in Caracas, we highlight a new argument, showing that intrastate tensions between the central government and teachers, heightened by a well-established cultural machinery and by teachers’ increasing exclusion from the Chavista political coalition, explain the limited success in government efforts to implement Bolivarian nationalism through the school curriculum.

El gobierno de Chávez introdujo un currículum nacional ‘bolivariano’ para promover un entendimiento radicalmente diferente de la historia e identidad de Venezuela. Ubicamos esta iniciativa de reforma al interior del análisis más amplio de la formación estatal y del nacionalismo. Estudios académicos han identificado desde hace mucho a la escolarización de masas como la institución clave para socializar a los ciudadanos y cultivar lealtades nacionales, por lo que muchos estados han intentado alterar el contenido nacionalista de la enseñanza teniendo esto en mente. Venezuela constituye un caso ideal para identificar las condiciones específicas bajo las cuales las transformaciones oficiales de ideologías nacionales ganan, o no, una mayor resonancia. Utilizando evidencias a partir del análisis de libros de texto y entrevistas semiestructuradas con funcionarios de la educación y maestros en Caracas, mostramos que las tensiones intraestatales entre el gobierno central y los maestros (que se refuerzan por una maquinaria cultural bien establecida y por la creciente exclusión de profesores de la coalición política chavista), explican el limitado éxito de los esfuerzos gubernamentales por implementar el nacionalismo bolivariano a través del currículum escolar.

O governo de Hugo Chávez introduziu um currículo nacional ‘bolivariano’ visando promover uma compreensão radicalmente diferente da história e identidade venezuelanas. Nós analisamos essa iniciativa de reforma no contexto mais amplo do estudo de formação do Estado e do nacionalismo. Estudiosos já identificaram há tempo que a educação de massas é a instituição-chave para a socialização de cidadãos e a promoção de lealdades nacionais. Deste modo, muitos Estados têm buscado alterar o conteúdo nacionalista da educação escolar com estes fins em mente. A Venezuela representa um caso ideal para a identificação das condições específicas sob as quais as transformações de ideologias nacionais oficiais ganham ou não maior ressonância. A partir de evidências obtidas em análises de livros didáticos e entrevistas semiestruturadas com funcionários públicos da educação e professores de Caracas, levantamos um novo argumento que mostra que tensões dentro do Estado entre o governo central e professores, aumentadas por uma máquina cultural bem estabelecida e pela crescente exclusão dos professores da coalizão política chavista, explicam o sucesso limitado dos esforços do governo em implementar um nacionalismo bolivariano através do currículo escolar.

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1 Hobsbawm, Eric J., Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Weber, Eugen, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870–1914 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1976).

2 Bolivarianism is a complex, multi-layered, and often contradictory ideological project. In this article we focus only on one particular aspect of it: Bolivarian nationalism, or the understandings of national identity and history advanced by the Chávez government. Much has been written on other important facets of Bolivarianism. See for example Damas, Germán Carrera, ‘The Hidden Legacy of Simón Bolívar’, in Bushnell, David and Langley, Lester D. (eds.), Simón Bolívar: Essays on the Life and Legacy of the Liberator (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), chap. 9, on the cult of Simón Bolívar; and Burbach, Roger and Piñeiro, Camila, ‘Venezuela's Participatory Socialism’, Socialism and Democracy 21: 3 (2007), pp. 181200 on the rise of Bolivarian socialism.

3 The Colección is a series of four books, for each of grades 1–6 (primary school), developed and produced by the Ministry of Education; it follows the guidelines of the government's Bolivarian Curriculum, rather than the 1997 curriculum.

4 For a critical review of a correspondence-theoretical approach to ideological change see Wuthnow, Robert, Communities of Discourse. Ideology and Social Structure in the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and European Socialism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).

5 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, 2nd edn (New York: Verso, 1983); Habermas, Jürgen, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991).

6 Gorski, Philip S., ‘Nation-ization Struggles: A Bourdieusian Theory of Nationalism’, in Gorski, Philip S. (ed.), Bourdieusian Theory and Historical Analysis (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012); Hechter, Michael, Containing Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Wimmer, Andreas, Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

7 Collier, Ruth Berins and Collier, David, Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991).

8 Ciccariello-Maher, George, We Created Chávez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013); Hetland, Gabriel, ‘The Crooked Line: From Populist Mobilization to Participatory Democracy in Chávez-Era Venezuela’, Qualitative Sociology, 37: 4 (2014), pp. 373401 ; Smilde, David and Hellinger, Daniel (eds.), Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics, and Culture under Chávez (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011).

9 This is not to neglect the probably crucial role played by the Chavista alliance with the urban poor in motivating the state's decision to adopt Bolivarian nationalism initially. In this article, however, we are primarily concerned with the consolidation of this new official national ideology – the extent to which Bolivarian nationalism obtained hegemonic status – rather than why the state chose this particular form of nationalism.

10 Brewer-Carías, Allan R., Dismantling Democracy in Venezuela: The Chávez Authoritarian Experiment (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Corrales, Javier and Penfold-Becerra, Michael, Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chávez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2011).

11 On state weakness as an obstacle to transformative efforts, see Colburn, Forrest D. and Rahmato, Dessalegn, ‘Rethinking Socialism in the Third World’, Third World Quarterly, 13: 1 (1992), pp. 159–72 and Migdal, Joel, Strong Societies and Weak States: State–Society Relations and State Capabilities in the Third World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988). On the association between state weakness and limited nationalism in Latin America, see Centeno, Miguel Ángel, Blood and Debt: War and the Nation-State in Latin America (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002).

12 Brubaker, Rogers, Ethnicity without Groups (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004); Calhoun, Craig, Nationalism (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).

13 Gellner, Ernest, Nations and Nationalism (London: Oxford University Press, 1983); Smith, Anthony D., The Cultural Foundations of Nations: Hierarchy, Covenant, and Republic (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008).

14 It bears emphasis that social movements and other civil society actors may employ counter-state nationalism in order to mobilise political support and challenge state authority. See Hechter, Containing Nationalism.

15 Brubaker, Rogers, Feischmidt, Margit, Fox, Jon and Grancea, Liana, Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).

16 Wuthnow, Communities of Discourse.

17 Portocarrero, Gonzalo and Oliart, Patricia, El Perú desde la escuela (Lima: Instituto de Apoyo Agrario, 1989); Hau, Matthias vom, ‘Unpacking the School: Textbooks, Teachers, and the Construction of Nationhood in Mexico, Argentina, and Peru’, Latin American Research Review, 44: 1 (2009), pp. 127–54; Gvirtz, Silvina, El discurso escolar a través de los cuadernos de clase, Argentina 1930–1970 (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1999).

18 Our methodological approach draws on Matthias vom Hau, ‘Transformations of Nationalism: State Power and Ideological Change in Latin America’, which uses textbooks to analyse nationalism in early- and mid-twentieth-century Latin America. Specifically, we trace similarities and differences in textbook contents along the following four dimensions: (a) normative judgments of major historical epochs, such as recent history but also the colonial period; (b) the identity of the main actors driving national history; (c) representations of major national heroes and the reasons given to celebrate them; and (d) conceptions of the main threats faced by the nation and ideas about hierarchies found within the national community.

19 These data are listed in the Appendix. All school types are mandated to use the Colección Bicentenario and receive free copies of those texts (though not all schools, particularly private schools, had actually received the texts in the year of our study), yet private schools usually have the highest degree of autonomy in the choice of the textbooks they use. Bolivarian schools, newly established under Chávez, stand at the other end of the spectrum, with little or no autonomy to choose their teaching materials, while ordinary national and municipal schools fall in between.

20 Different levels of administration in Venezuela operate distinct school systems.

21 Currículo bolivariano nacional: diseño curricular del sistema educativo bolivariano (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, 2007).

22 James Suggett, ‘Venezuelan Education Law: Socialist Indoctrination or Liberatory Education?’, Venezuelaanalysis.com, 21 Aug. 2009. Available at http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4734 (last access 22 Jan. 2017).

23 ‘100 millones de libros de la Colección Bicentenario ha entregado la Revolución’, vtv.gob.ve, 26 Sept. 2016, available at http://vtv.gob.ve/100-millones-de-libros-de-la-coleccion-bicentenario-ha-entregado-la-revolucion/ (last access 22 Jan. 2017).

24 Carrera Damas, ‘The Hidden Legacy of Simón Bolívar’; Chasteen, John, ‘Simón Bolívar: Man and Myth’, in Brunk, Samuel and Fallow, Ben (eds.), Heroes and Hero Cults in Latin America (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2006) pp. 2139 .

25 For a discussion of the centrality of Bolívar in non-government textbooks, see Mora, Carmen G. Arteaga, ‘Mito fundacional y héroes nacionales en libros de texto de primaria venezolanos’, Revista Politeia, 45: 1 (2010), pp. 50–3. For illustrations of Bolívar's importance in the Chavista understanding of history, see the government's social science textbook for grade 5: Arcila, América Bracho and de Hurtado, María Helena León, Venezuela y su gente: ciencias sociales, quinto grado (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, 2011), pp. 62101 , 125, 158.

26 Enlace con ciencias sociales, quinto grado (Caracas: Fundación Editorial Santillana, 2010), pp. 174–6. See also Ciencias sociales 5 (Caracas: S. A. Educación y Cultura Religiosa, 2001); Zamora, Héctor, Estudios sociales quinto grado (Caracas: Co-Bo, 2000); Arco iris básico: ciencias sociales 6 (Caracas: Librería Editorial Salesiana, S. A., 1988).

27 Arcila, América Bracho and de Hurtado, María Helena León, Venezuela y su gente: ciencias sociales, sexto grado (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, 2011), p. 63. See also Currículo nacional bolivariano: diseño curricular del sistema educativo bolivariano (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, 2007).

28 Ibid.

29 Frías, Hugo Chávez, Tercer motor: Moral y Luces, educación con valores socialistas: juramentación del Consejo Presidencial Moral y Luces, Sala Ríos Reyna – Teatro Teresa Carreño (Caracas: República Bolivariana de Venezuela, 2007), p. 20.

30 Libro integral: mundo tricolor 6 (Caracas: Fondo Editorial La Cadena Tricolor), p. 246; Mi mundo 6 (Caracas: SUSAETA, 1992), p. 52; Ciencias sociales 6 (Caracas: Co-Bo, 2000), p. 153.

31 Mundo tricolor 6, p. 251.

32 Ibid., pp. 249, 251. A more critical reading can be found in Galíndez, Omar, Civilización 5: ciencias sociales educación básica (Caracas: Editorial Excelencia C. A., 2000), pp. 117–18.

33 Venezuela y su gente, sexto grado, p. 100.

34 Ibid., p. 119.

35 Ibid., pp. 121–3.

36 Estudios ciencias sociales 4, p. 160; Arco iris básico: estudios sociales 5 (Caracas: Librería Editorial Salesiana, S. A., 1988), p. 40; Enlace con ciencias sociales quinto grado, p. 154.

37 Arcila, América Bracho and de Hurtado, María Helena León, Venezuela y su gente, ciencias sociales, cuarto grado (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, 2011), pp. 97, 111; Venezuela y su gente, quinto grado, p. 80.

38 Venezuela y su gente, quinto grado, pp. 98, 117–18.

39 Ibid., pp. 81–2, 92.

40 Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), Escuela de Educación, Coordinación de Ciencias Sociales, ‘Consideraciones sobre los libros de Ciencias Sociales de la Colección Bicentenario’ (Caracas: UCAB, 2011), p. 3.

41 Venezuela y su gente, sexto grado, pp. 103, 106–12, 124.

42 Ibid., p. 141.

43 Ibid., pp. 91, 128, 131.

44 Venezuela y su gente, cuarto grado, p. 48.

45 Venezuela y su gente, sexto grado, p. 46.

46 Interview with a (national) primary school principal in El Recreo parish, Caracas, August 2012.

47 A few caveats, however, are in order. First, the Colección Bicentenario had only been in schools for one academic year at the time of these interviews. Further systematic research is certainly warranted on how teacher responses to the Colección evolved over time, yet informal conversations with teachers and administrators (during more recent stays in Venezuela for other research projects) indicate that their perceptions of those texts and their ways of using them in the classroom have not changed much since 2012. Second, several teachers and administrators interviewed reported that non-government textbooks have been increasingly influenced by Bolivarian nationalism, which suggests that focusing on the government's texts alone might understate the government's success in implementing its education agenda. These questions need to be addressed in further research.

48 Anselmi, Manuel, Chávez's Children: Ideology, Education, and Society in Latin America (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013), p. 146.

49 It bears emphasis that our analysis is solely focused on the attempt of the government to impose a new national ideology – Bolivarian nationalism – on ordinary citizens. Assessing the successes and failures of the wider political and ideological project associated with Chavismo is beyond the scope of this article.

50 This analytical lens raises the important question of why states choose to transform the content of their national ideologies. We do not address this issue since our focus is firmly on the ability of states to implement these ideological projects when they emerge.

51 Thus we approach the state as composed of differentiated networks of institutions and personnel that reach outwards from the centre to control their realm. See Mann, Michael, ‘The Autonomous Power of the State: Its Origins, Mechanisms, and Results’, European Journal of Sociology, 25: 2 (Nov. 1984), pp. 185213 ; Soifer, Hillel David, ‘State Infrastructural Power: Approaches to Conceptualization and Measurement’, Studies in Comparative International Development, 43: 3–4 (2008), pp. 231–51.

52 The state cultural machinery includes the organisational facilities directly dedicated to ideological production and dissemination.

53 For the domain of education, this routinisation is indicated by a public school system that is able to administer and oversee a (nationally) binding curriculum and make schooling accessible to students across the national territory.

54 Abbott, Andrew, The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2014); DiMaggio, Paul, ‘Constructing an Organizational Field as a Professional Project: U.S. Art Museums, 1920–1940’, in Powell, Walter W. and DiMaggio, Paul (eds.), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 267–92.

55 Colburn and Rahmato, ‘Rethinking Socialism’.

56 Interview with teacher 11, Aug. 2012 (see Appendix for list of teachers interviewed).

57 Interviews with teachers 6, 18, 21, Aug. 2012.

58 Interview with teacher 10, Aug. 2012.

59 Interview with teacher 5, Aug. 2012.

60 Crucially, our argument centres on the capacity of the state and not political institutions. The latter, of course, underwent a major crisis in the years prior to the initial election of Hugo Chávez, with the collapse of the country's major political parties. Even as Venezuela was gripped by a crisis of political institutions, and an economic crisis, many dimensions of its state remained effective. For two of many accounts of the political crisis of the 1990s that do not diagnose a crisis in state capacity, see Flores-Macías, Gustavo, After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), ch. 4, and Maya, Margarita López, ‘Venezuela: Hugo Chávez and the Populist Left’, in Levitsky, Steven and Roberts, Kenneth M. (eds.), The Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), ch. 9. Venezuela's performance on various indicators of state capacity placed it at or above average for South America. See Soifer, Hillel David, State Building in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 1115 . For a longer historical perspective on the infrastructural power of the Venezuelan state see Karl, Terry Lynn, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991) and Coronil, Fernando, The Magical State: Nature, Money, and Modernity in Venezuela (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

61 According to data collected by Fernando Reimers, Venezuela's per capita education spending was by far the highest in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. Though austerity and adjustment measures did lead to some declines in public school provision and quality, and to increased urban and class bias in the educational system, these effects were quite muted in regional perspective. See Reimers, Fernando, ‘The Impact of Economic Stabilization and Adjustment on Education in Latin America’, Comparative Education Review, 35: 2 (May 1991), pp. 319–53.

62 We focus on secondary school enrolment because it varies more across time and country in contemporary Latin America than primary school enrolment.

63 Ortega, Daniel and Pritchett, Lant, ‘Much Higher Schooling, Much Lower Wages: Human Capital and Economic Collapse in Venezuela’, in Hausmann, Ricardo and Rodríguez, Francisco (eds.), Venezuela before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014), ch. 6.

64 These figures are decade averages of data drawn from the World Development Indicators, available at http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators (last access 22 Jan. 2017).

65 Reimers, ‘The Impact of Economic Stabilization and Adjustment on Education in Latin America’.

66 Rodríguez, Nacarid and Meza, Mildred, ‘La dirección escolar en Venezuela’, Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 4: 4 (2006), pp. 122 .

67 Ibid. Since 2003 Venezuela has seen the emergence of two key educational initiatives: the missions and the Bolivarian schools. We address both in detail below.

68 UNESCO, Datos mundiales de educación, 7th edn (Caracas: República Bolivariana de Venezuela, 2010); Mariano Herrera, ‘El sistema educativo venezolano’ (Caracas: CICE, 2010).

69 Rodríguez and Meza, ‘La dirección escolar’.

70 This discussion is based on Trujillo, Nacarid Rodríguez, ‘La formación de los docentes de Venezuela de 1951 a 2001’, in Luque, Guillermo (ed.), Venezuela: Medio siglo de historia educativa 1951–2001 (Caracas: Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación Universitaria, 2011), pp. 479–97.

71 Ramírez, Tulio, ‘Los educadores: una agenda para la valorización de nuestros educadores’, in Ugalde, Luis (ed.), Educación para transformar el país (Caracas: Foro CERPE, 2012), pp. 111–29; Trujillo, Nacarid Rodríguez, Historia de la educación venezolana: 6 ensayos (Caracas: UCAB, 2011), pp. 320–1.

72 Interview with teacher 8, Aug. 2012.

73 Interview with teacher 2, Aug. 2012.

74 Interview with teacher 16, Aug. 2012.

75 Julián Gindin, ‘Sindicalismo docente en América Latina: una contribución al debate’, El Cotidiano (July–Aug. 2011), pp. 109–14, 111. Rodríguez Trujillo, Historia de la educación venezolana, p. 274, discusses the 1969 primary school teachers’ strike as a moment of professional identity formation among teachers.

76 Murillo, M. Victoria, ‘From Populism to Neoliberalism: Labor Unions and Market Reforms in Latin America’, World Politics, 52 (Jan. 2000), pp. 135–74; here p.156 and Appendix.

77 Julián Gindin, ‘Sur, neoliberalismo … ¿Y después? Los sindicatos docentes en Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Uruguay y Ecuador’, paper presented at the Confederación de Educadores Americanos y STEI-Intersindical (Montevideo, 2009).

78 Jáuregui, Luis Bravo, Legislación educativa en Venezuela. Iniciativas y controversia pública en torno a los ajustes normativo-políticos que demanda la Constitución de 1999 (Caracas: Memoria Educativa Venezolana, Universidad Central de Venezuela, 2009), p. 8.

79 Much of the discussion in this section is based on Ramírez, ‘Los educadores’, especially pp. 113–16.

80 Gindin, ‘Sur, neoliberalismo … ¿Y después?’, p. 36.

81 Suggett, ‘Venezuelan Education Law’.

82 ‘Venezuela: Education Reforms Trigger Chavez Protest’, Oxford Analytica Daily Brief (16 April 2001).

83 A preference was shown to graduates of the Misión Sucre over those of the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador who had undergone formal pedagogical training. See the section below headed Circumventing Tensions through Parallel Institutions’ for more on the ‘missions’.

84 Interinos are teachers hired on a temporary basis, while titulares have a permanent contract: Josefina Bruni Celli, Olga Ramos and Milko González, ‘Los maestros en Venezuela: carreras e incentivos’ (Washington, DC: Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, Red de Centros de Investigación, 2001), pp. 9, 17.

85 In other contexts where ideological change has been attempted, government-owned media have been used to disseminate the new official nationalism. Though critics of the Chávez government often point to community media as another mouthpiece of the state, scholars of Venezuelan community radio and television show that they should not be seen as part of the state ideological apparatus. See Fernandes, Sujatha, Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez's Venezuela (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010); Naomi Schiller, ‘Catia Sees You: Community Television, Clientelism, and the State in the Chávez Era’, in Smilde and Hellinger (eds.), Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy, pp. 104–30.

86 Kirk A. Hawkins, Guillermo Rosas and Michael E. Johnson, ‘The Misiones of the Chávez Government’, in ibid., p. 192.

87 Ibid., p. 190.

88 Ibid.; Ellner, Steve, Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict and the Chávez Phenomenon (Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008), p. 133.

89 Anselmi, Chávez's Children, p. 58.

90 Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, Memoria y cuenta 2013, p. 1575.

91 Although several teachers interviewed for this study reported no experience of ideological pressuring from colleagues or administrators in Bolivarian schools, in several cases teachers in these schools reported experiencing a culture of ideological dogmatism and expressed fear of losing their jobs if their oppositional political views became known.

92 Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación, Memoria y cuenta 2013, p. 1575.

93 Instituto Nacional de Estadística, ‘Matrícula de educación primaria por dependencia’, available via the ‘Primaria’ tab at www.ine.gov.ve/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=64&itemid=6 (last access 30 Jan. 2017).

94 Anselmi, Chávez's Children, pp. 120ff finds evidence of weekly meetings of school coordinators at a regional level, and weekly rounds of school inspections by district officials. There, in other words, the ‘ideological management’ of education is intense.

95 La Zona Educativa de Miranda, Circular No. MDZ-2011-06, 13 Oct. 2011.

96 Karl, Paradox of Plenty; Coronil, The Magical State.

97 Smilde and Hellinger (eds.), Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy; Ciccariello-Maher, We Created Chávez.

98 Smilde and Hellinger (eds.), Venezuela's Bolivarian Democracy.

99 Hawkins, Kirk, Venezuela's Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), ch. 7.

100 Torre, Juan Carlos, La vieja guardia sindical y Perón (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1990).

101 Plotkin, Mariano, Mañana es San Perón: A Cultural History of Peron's Argentina (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002).

102 Hau, Matthias vom, ‘State Infrastructural Power and Nationalism: Comparative Lessons from Mexico and Argentina’, Studies in Comparative International Development, 43: 3–4 (2008), pp. 334–54; ‘Unpacking the School’.

103 Karpat, Kemal H., Social Change and Politics in Turkey: A Structural-Historical Analysis (Leiden: Brill, 1973).

104 Vom Hau, ‘State Infrastructural Power and Nationalism’.

* We received helpful comments on earlier versions from Javier Corrales, Fran Hagopian, Jorge Domínguez, Kai Thaler, and from audiences during presentations at the 2013 annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association, the Harvard–MIT Latin America Discussion Group, Kassel University, and the desiguALdades.net Seminar Series at the Freie Universität Berlin. Thanks also to Andy Rosati, whose assistance in Caracas during fieldwork was invaluable, and to Sergio Costa, Stefan Peters, and Manuela Boatcă. Research for this article was funded in part by Temple University.

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