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The Recovery of Cultural Resources for Development

Can the culture of native peoples be a springboard for development, or does it inevitably block progressive change, creating permanent backwaters in society? For much of the 20th century, official development doctrine viewed indigenous culture as a barrier to improvement. As the Mexican sociologist Rudolfo Stavenhagen observed, development policies in Latin America after World War II assumed it was necessary to "integrate" and "assimilate" indigenous peoples into the cultural mainstream of a modern industrializing society (Stavenhagen 1992).

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