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Everyday practices in public places: Embodied understandings of post-dictatorship Chile.

Palacios, Rosario (2008) Everyday practices in public places: Embodied understandings of post-dictatorship Chile. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis explores Chilean people's ways of making sense of their contemporary world in the post-dictatorship period at the level of the everyday. Drawing on the study of practices in two public places in Santiago, Chile, I unravel users' understandings of political, economic and cultural topics. Place is a central element in my approach to practices. My exploration of practices is rooted in a spatial analysis of my study sites, Plaza de Armas and Parque Forestal. I show how the way in which we make sense of the world is not an abstract construct but is based in ordinary experience situated in place. I affirm there is a sense of strangeness and marginality regarding present-day Chile because there is little common ground amongst the increasing diversity of understandings. The group of Chileans under study may have been linked in the past by the common reference of institutions, but now they are more distant from institutional frameworks and more involved with their personal lives in the present. In this light, social segregation is increasing and imagination appears as a constituent feature of Chilean subjectivity in the new times. On the one hand, regarding social segregation, I argue that a new form of social segregation has emerged in post-dictatorship Chile. It is a form that is linked not merely with material inequality, family origins, ethnicity and location within the city, but also with the impossibility of dialogue regarding people's different understandings of Chile's new times. On the other hand, I describe and analyse how individuals' deep, practical engagement with the material and social form of their world allows them to imagine in a way that is rooted within their everyday life. Their material imagination opens a door for new ways of belonging to their world. I argue that people's practices should be taken into account in order to understand the way they make sense of present-day Chile. Individuals' expectations and values are involved in their practices, together with their biographies and everyday social interactions. Hence, 1 disagree with theoretical reflections on Chile's new times or macrostructure analyses that miss the link between socially constructed understandings of Chile and people's everyday living.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural, Latin American Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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