Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Carla Alberti ─ The long memory: Pre-colonial origins of contemporary Mapuche mobilization in Chile

Thursday, October 8, 2020

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Email WatsonEvents@brown.edu to register for this virtual event.

The Mapuche people of Southern Chile have been constantly mobilized since colonial times. However, not all Mapuche communities have mobilized for their demands in the same way. While in certain areas violent conflict has been a historical constant, pacific coexistence between Mapuche communities, settlers, and the state has characterized both recent times and the longue durée in others. We explain the subnational distribution of Mapuche mobilization by identifying two path-dependent sequences –one conflictive, one passive– that trace back to the social complexity of pre-colonial societies. Specifically, we claim that the existence of a strong pre-colonial indigenous organization, in interaction with colonialism, generated a conflictive sequence that has been reproduced over time, and resulted in post-colonial conflict. Conversely, weakly organized indigenous communities lacked the capacity to mobilize to resist colonialism. This resulted in the emergence of a passive sequence that persisted throughout the post-colonial period, and explains the absence of post-colonial conflict in these areas.

Carla Alberti is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She received her PhD in political science from Brown University. Her research focuses on ethnic politics and indigenous movements in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. Additionally, she studies the relation between smuggling, drug dealing, and violence in the Andean region.

Events from our Partners