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Scripps College

Publication Date

Spring 2006

Program Name

Chile: Economic Development and Globalization


This study explores the Mapuche political movement in Chile since the military dictatorship. It asserts that the movement is more divided and weak presently than it was during the dictatorship because at that time all sectors of the Mapuche society were able to unite in order to fight against a common and concrete enemy. However, since the return of democracy in Chile the Mapuche political movement has experiences a process of fragmentation that has weakened it greatly. This study identifies the five most important factors that have contributed to the process of fragmentation within the movement—the diversity of opinions within the movement about the indigenous policies of the Concertación and how the Mapuches should participate in the Chilean political system, the integration of some sectors of the movement into the state structure, the injection of ideological rhetoric and political parties into the movement, the large egos of some of the leaders of the movement, and finally, the lack of a well defined definition of autonomy and a clear plan for achieving it. This study concludes that the Mapuche political movement needs to design a concrete plan that focuses within, without participation of political parties or the use of divisionary ideological rhetoric, in order to develop itself both politically and socially and create the conditions necessary to be able to achieve its final goal of autonomy.


Politics and Social Change


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