Estructural funcionalismo en colombia

· n.° 21 · 2007 · issn 0120-3045 · páginas 65-88

AplicAndo teoríAs cAducAs: el estructurAl funcionAlismo y su influenciA en lA AntropologíA hechA en colombiA*
Applying old-fashioned theories: structural-functionalism and its influence in Colombian Anthropology

mauricio caviedes pinilla **
Centro de Cooperación al Indígena (cecoin) · Bogotá

* Documento presentado en el Ciclo deConferencias “Teorías y Escuelas en el Pensamiento Antropológico” de la Maestría en Antropología Social de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia en el año 2006. ** [email protected]
Artículo de reflexión recibido: 2 de abril del 2007 · aprobado: 18 de septiembre del 2007

Universidad Nacional de Colombia · Bogotá

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mauricio caviedes pinilla · Aplicando teorías caducas: el estructuralfuncionalismo…

resumen Este artículo sostiene que aunque las antropologías colombiana y latinoamericana declararon haber abandonado cualquier influencia de la antropología clásica social británica a favor de una antropología marxista y comprometida (y más tarde de una antropología colombiana), una cierta herencia colonialista de la antropología aplicada de Malinowski retorna a la antropologíacolombiana como una supuesta nueva forma que se propone mediar en los conflictos entre el Estado y los pueblos indígenas en Colombia. Estos restos de la antropología social británica clásica se pueden rastrear a lo largo de la historia de la antropología colombiana para demostrar que su influencia se mantuvo subrepticiamente. Palabras clave: antropología latinoamericana, historia de la antropología,antropología colombiana, antropología social británica, funcionalismo, pueblos indígenas, antropología aplicada.

abstract This article argues that, although Latin American and Colombian anthropology claims to have abandoned any influence from classical British social anthropology during the late sixties, in favor of a committed Marxist anthropology (and later, a Colombian anthropology), acertain colonialist inheritance from Malinowski’s applied anthropology returned to Colombian anthropology, as an allegedly new form of anthropology, intended to mediate conflicts between the state and the indigenous people in Colombia. This remains of classical British social anthropology can be traced throughout the history of Colombian anthropology, to demonstrate that its influence stayedsurreptitiously. Keywords: Latin American anthropology, history of anthropology, Colombian anthropology, British social antropology, functionalism, indigenous peoples, applied anthropology.

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Departamento de Antropología · Facultad de Ciencias Humanas

· n.° 21 · 2007 · issn 0120-3045


uiero argumentar en este artículo que el estructural funcionalismo surgido de la antropología socialbritánica, criticado por los antropólogos latinoamericanos, descartado por autores importantes en la historia de la antropología en Colombia, descalificado por la teoría posmoderna, desacreditados sus creadores con el argumento de convertir al indígena en objeto y sus planteamientos rechazados por la complicidad de sus fundadores con el colonialismo, sigue siendo una forma de pensamiento y unaperspectiva orientadora de la antropología hecha en Colombia, específicamente, en la reflexión que han adelantado algunos antropólogos en Colombia sobre la relación entre los pueblos indígenas y el Estado colombiano; pero sobre todo, sigue presente en la manera en que se relaciona el Estado colombiano con los pueblos indígenas. Estoy convencido de que la teoría funcionalista pervive de maneravergonzante en la antropología colombiana y su práctica. Las críticas que se han esgrimido no dejan de ser certeras; sin embargo, esto no quiere decir que las críticas, tanto de los antropólogos colombianos como de los autores posmodernos norteamericanos, hayan logrado eliminar el funcionalismo como perspectiva para explicar la existencia misma de los pueblos indígenas. La perspectiva funcionalista…

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