The role of the Nicaraguan 'other' in the formation of national identities in Costa Rica.
This project explores the formation of the Nicaraguan "other" and the constitution of
national identities in Costa Rica as mutually affected processes. Nations are conceptualised
not so much as "communities" but as formations of difference and inequality. In this sense,
the overall aim of this project is to explore the extent to which the exclusion of undesired
"others" is a powerful way of constructing commonalities.
Representations of belonging and difference are explored in public discourses, but it is
also considered how such public discourses are translated into everyday life, which
involves more private sites and practices where past and present issues are lived and
Accordingly, this research tries to identify different spatial and temporal sites in which
processes of belonging and difference take place. It attempts to overcome the boundary
between textual perspectives, which primarily focus on extended narratives and
ethnographic approaches, which highlight lived experience.
The key sites of analysis are narratives of nationhood such as historical interpretations and
novels, media representations and everyday life. Whilst this project attempts to take
account of the peculiarities of each of these sites and cultural forms, it also endeavours to
show some of the multiple links and articulations between and within them.
~t is my hope that this project may contribute to the public debate about national identities
In Costa Rica, frequently associated with a sense of "uniqueness". The diffusion of the
results may also support the work that grass-roots organisations are carrying out and
empower members of the Nicaraguan community in Costa Rica, for whom exclusion is for
most of the time a painful experience.