Accepted paper:

The local dimension of a global project: the monitorial system of education in post-independent Chile, 1821-1833


Andres Baeza (University of Bristol)

Paper short abstract:

This paper seeks to discuss the role that the process of reception and adaptation of the monitorial system of education played in the shaping of the new political identity of ‘citizenship’, and the way it influenced the construction of a ‘national’ system of education in Chile during the 1820s.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I analyse the role that education played in the configuration of the new political identity of 'citizenship' in the context of the making of the Chilean Republic during the 1820s. To do this I focus on the process of reception and adaptation of the Monitorial System of education (also known as mutual system, Bell-Lancaster or British system of education) carried out in Chile after the struggles for independence. This process was characterized by a confluence of 'civilizing' discourses from those who diffused (the Quakers of the British and Foreign School Society) and received (the Chilean liberal elite and Catholic clergy) the system. In this confluence the system was neither passively imitated by the liberal elite nor compulsively refused by the Catholic clergy as shown by historiography. I argue that the process of reception was characterized by an active criticism in which the original model was depurated and eventually adapted to local circumstances and interests. As a result, the first foundations of an incipient 'national' system of education were established during the 1820s. The axis of the system was the education of the citizen on the base of the merge of traditional, Liberal and Protestant ideas.

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New perspectives on political ideas and practices in post-independent Chile (1818-1830)