Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Jose del Valle

Committee Members

Miki Makihara

Beatriz Lado

Carolina Chaves-O'Flynn

Subject Categories

Construction Law | Critical and Cultural Studies | Other Legal Studies | Spanish Linguistics


Glottopolitcs, Colombia, Discourse, Entextualization, Writing, Constitution


Although constitutions are part of the canon of disciplinary writings, along with grammar books and etiquette manuals, and are also central texts in the processes of formation and consolidation of Latin American nation-states, to date, they have not been sufficiently explored in their social and linguistic processes of discursive elaboration. With a glottopolitical approach, this research examines the social, communicative and ideological components involved in the writing process of the Colombian Constitution of 1991, developed in a context of State crisis and violence aggravated by narco-terrorist attacks. Using the concept of entextualization, which refers to the process of extracting discourse from its original context and converting it into a unit (the text) to reinsert it into other contexts, and by reviewing primary materials from the constitutional archive, the press of the time and the memoirs of delegates to the Constitutional Assembly, this research studies the stages, textual operations, and linguistic ideologies mobilized during the production of the constitution. By looking at the linguistic practices of constitutional writing from a historical perspective, the dissertation accounts for the primary textual antecedent of the 1991 Political Constitution, the Constitution of 1886, and its author, Miguel Antonio Caro. It describes its social and ideological production conditions as a regime of grammatical normativity. The thesis also advances in the study of the translation projects of the constitution into indigenous languages as reentextualization operations that recurrently fail, thus posing the indigenous translation of the constitutional discourse as a glottopolitical impossibility.