Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


Controversy has surrounded the current student movement since it began six months ago. One of the main causes for concern is the violence that seems to be a constant at every protest and demonstration. There are various contradicting opinions on the subject of violence and what is appropriate behavior for the student protesters and for the carabineros, or police officers, who are ordered to “maintain control” of the marches. Through interviews with various participants and political actors this research aims to contribute to a better understanding of government violence as a form of social control and to the understanding of the social phenomenon that is the student movement, as well as its participants.

This paper examines the cultural implications for the government’s criminalization of, and violence against, the current student movement. Specifically, this paper aims to connect the dictatorship’s legacy of violence to the violence currently present in the student marches and protests. This paper delves into the history of the Chilean education system as a means of explaining the current situation. Through interviews and secondary sources, various perspectives of the following themes have been compiled: the Chilean educational system and its faults, the criminalization of the student movement, violence (both physical and ideological, past and present), relations of authority and power, and the identity of the “encapuchados.” All of these themes and many more intersect in the complicated social context that surrounds the current student marches.


Disability and Equity in Education | Inequality and Stratification | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance