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Brown University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


The student feminist movement of 2018-19 was dubbed Chile’s “third wave” of feminism. Media outlets framed it not only as a push to address violence against women and establish a non-sexist education system, but as a revolt against the neoliberal system that generates gender-based inequality – a legacy of the military dictatorship. This paper sought to investigate the processes by which the activists of the 2018-19 student feminist movement constructed a transgenerational movement through the mobilization of memory, as well as to interrogate the intergenerational perspectives surrounding the effectiveness of this mobilization, recognizing feminism’s continuities and the importance of remembering feminist activist histories as a form of reviving forgotten resistance narratives. Drawing on sociological theories of generations, processes of collective identity formation and collective memory, complicated with feminist critiques from both Western and Chilean authors, I examine memory’s potential in building a collective identity, as well as wider strategies that generated collective identity in the protests. This investigation was built on the perspectives and lived experiences from my interviews with Chilean student and women activists active in the 2018-19 movement, as well as archival documents and online research to establish historical context on feminist and student movements since 1930.

I encountered a wide variety of perspectives that demonstrated the mobilization of memory in the student feminist movement was minimal, and mainly based in acknowledgement of a feminist activist legacy rather than actual engagement with visual or commemorative actions. Moreover, rather than transgenerational collaboration, the student activists chose to distance themselves from “second wave” feminism and feminists, deciding to project a more inclusive and intersectional new feminism. Within older generations, there was a sense of ignorance within the students about the country’s feminist history and anger that their interests were not represented. Rather than work transgeneracionally, the students focused on developing solidarity within the “student” identity. More research should be done on the role of memory in constructing collective movement identities, and future study should try to involve more figures from Chilean memory organizations.


Civic and Community Engagement | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Latin American History | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Influence and Political Communication | Sociology of Culture | Women's Studies


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