The Andean republics (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and the northwestern part of Argentina) are diverse and linguistically complex both in the indigenous languages and the varieties of Spanish that are spoken. Indeed, language is one of the principal vectors of social differentiation, discrimination and conflict. Language shapes both national public cultures in arenas ranging from classrooms to ethnic "comedy" and political discourses in both the new movements of Native Andeans and in older framings of nationality.

    Political attention to language, however, has focused primarily on a narrow set of social domains, mainly education and law. In contrast, the social conflict that is the staple of everyday life, ranging from the mass media, to the market, to the plaza, to the home has largely slipped past the attention of policy-maker and scholars, perhaps because it is too routine to be noticed.

    Under the auspices of the II's "Crossing Borders: Revitalizing Area Studies" grant awarded by the Ford Foundation, U-M anthropologist Bruce Mannheim convened a workshop, "Pragmatics and Social Conflict in the Andean Region," July 1-14, in Cusco, Peru. The workshop was held at the Centro de Estudios Rurales Andinos "Bartolomé de las Casas," an education- and research-oriented NGO that specializes in social research in the Andean region.

    The workshop examined the role of social interaction in reproducing social inequality and conflict by comparing cases from a variety of social settings, linguistic contexts, ethnic groups, classes and regions. U-M faculty and ten graduate students from Michigan and the University of Wisconsin collaborated with their counterparts from Peru and Bolivia in identifying common empirical issues, methodological problems and analytic approaches. Along with the core participants, seven professionals completing graduate degreess through the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) and the Centro de Estudios Andinos "Bartolomé de las Casas" joined some of the workshop's events.