Home Institution

University of Washington

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


This study is meant to explore the fundamental conflict between the neoliberal system implemented in Chilean society and the artisanal fishing sector, represented by Caleta Diego Portales in Valparaíso, Chile. The struggle of the artisanal fishing sector has been made more salient in the minds of the general Chilean public due to the estallido social or “social explosion” in 2019 which lead to a process of drafting a new constitution, and the recent corruption scandals regarding government officials and fishing law reforms.

Beginning with how neoliberal theory gained traction in intellectual spaces around the world, this study then examines how its influence arrived in Chile and the immediate effects of its implementation during the Pinochet dictatorship. The history of Chile’s national fishing laws and regulations is used to show how neoliberal ideals have manifested in the world of marine resource extraction, including an elaboration of the conflicts between industrial fishing corporations and the artisanal sector and a brief look at the state of fishing legislation today. This study ends with an explanation of the day-to-day lives of the artisanal fishermen that work in Caleta Portales and an analysis of how their struggles represent the shortcomings of a neoliberal idealistic hegemony. This project uses both written sources and personal interviews in order to compile a sufficient amount of information to come to the conclusion that neoliberalism is incompatible with the wellbeing of a sustainable, local, fishing operation. There are interviews with academics who have studied artisanal fishing in Chile, leaders of the fishermens’ union, and artisanal fishermen themselves.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Aquaculture and Fisheries | International Economics | Latin American Studies | Natural Resource Economics | Social Justice


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