Space and Social Mobilizations in Chile: Producing Mobilized Territories

Authors: Miguel Contreras*, Universidad de Chile
Topics: Political Geography, Social Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Social movements, territory, political geography, collective action
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8229, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The emergence and organization of spatially-based social movements in Chile during the last decade that have conducted massive collective actions in the public space, expresses a significant level of social discomfort that does not fit with the good international image of the country.
In the Chilean Patagonia, two social mobilizations were able to conduct massive demonstrations for several weeks: the movement called “Your problem is my problem” organized in the Aysén Region (February 2012), and the movement called “Chiloé is very angry” in the Chiloé Province (May 2016). In spite of their distinct, specific features, the main strategy shared by both movements is the organization of a regional "strike”, which mainly consisted in the occupation of the public space by installing “barricades” on streets and roads for days and weeks.
This presentation analyzes how, by conducting the regional strike and isolating their spaces from the rest of the country (by installing barricades and blockades), the social movement produced an exceptional social space, with its own specific dynamics and patterns that I call “mobilized territory”. By analyzing semi-structured interviews conducted to participants of social movements I was able to identify the main features of such a mobilized territory. These features included a “small town” character, structured around collective decisions debated at the barricaes, and a remarkable level of self-organization. For geographers, the specific dialogue among social movement, space, and this “mobilized” territory brings interesting insights to debate around these concepts and its links with citizenship and participatory democracy.

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