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Neoliberal Economics, Democratic Transition, and Mapuche Demands for Rights in Chile
Chile has been hailed as a model of economic and political reform, having made a peaceful electoral transition to democracy in 1990 after the Pinochet military regime. The new democratic government, a broad coalition of centrist and moderate leftist parties called the Concertación, pledged to maintain the free market policies of the military regime...
Chile has been hailed as a model of economic and political reform, having made a peaceful electoral transition to democracy in 1990 after the Pinochet military regime. The new democratic government, a broad coalition of centrist and moderate leftist parties called the Concertación, pledged to maintain the free market policies of the military regime while promising to deliver greater equity and social justice. But despite passing new laws to protect the country’s indigenous people’s lands and culture, the government undercut these laws when they clashed with the interests of transnational corporations. Haughney aims to correct the widely held view that Chile is a homogenous nation-state and to give voice to the Mapuche, an underestimated indigenous group that has raised broad claims to collective economic and political rights. The Mapuche, who constitute between 4 and 10 percent of the country’s population, have directly challenged both private interests and the traditional concepts of state and nation. In her analysis of the conflict, the author portrays the political power and ideological hegemony among political elites, and shows how the Mapuche challenge neoliberal conceptions of modernization and rights. Many current analyses of indigenous movements in Latin America emphasize the novelty of ethnic political mobilization, but the history of Mapuche mobilizing as an explicitly ethnic group in alliance with Chilean political parties dates back to the turn of the century. Today, the Mapuche advocate autonomous political strategies in demanding collective political and territorial rights. This study is a powerful tool for students and scholars of Latin American studies, indigenous movements, social movements, and globalization.
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