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My Seminar Presentation at Universidad de Chile, in Santiago, on 2 May 2019 at 13:15

Updated: Aug 21, 2019


Seminario Permanente del Instituto del Instituto de Asuntos Públicos, Universidad de Chile.

13:15, Sala 2.2, Santa Lucía 240, Santiago.

Sign up to attend with Marisol Molina: mamolina@inap.uchile.cl


Citizenship and Sustainable Collective Action in Underprivileged Urban Chile


In most of the 20th century, the Chilean urban poor mobilised over housing rights. They used land squatting as their main tactic and grew increasingly close to leftist political parties. During Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990) urban dwellers fiercely protested t

o resist the military’s authoritarian rule and its human rights abuses. However, as described in many other cases, Chile’s democratisation process also involved the deactivation of civil society. The institutional mechanisms of transitional political exclusion affected the poor more directly.


This book project analyses why and how the dictatorship succeeded in depoliticising most marginal Chilean neighbourhoods but failed in other cases. Drawing on my ethnographic, comparative fieldwork in Santiago de Chile’s poblaciones (underprivileged neighbourhoods), this book provides an analytical framework explaining how neighbourhood activists overcome transitional and post-transitional stark political exclusion to sustain mobilisation on the basis of citizenship construction. This concept is here called ‘mobilisational citizenship’.


Through mobilisational citizenship local activists transmit political capital and renovate positions of leadership, thus promoting enduring collective action.


In contrast, local leaders in depoliticised neighbourhoods use political capital to monopolise power and feed their networks of political loyalty. Through mobilisational citizenship, local residents politicise their neighbourhood, build autonomous local empowerment and self-define their political incorporation.




Dr. Simón Escoffier

Instituto Chileno de Estudios Municipales

1973 Galvarino Gallardo

Providencia, Santiago, Chile

sescoffier@ichem.cl / sescoffier@uc.cl

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