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VVI Research Meetings 2023-2024

Disentangling citizenship from nationality and inclusion from belonging in Chile

  • Speaker: Daniela Vicherat Mattar; Chair/discussant: Hannah Bliersbach
Tuesday 23 April 2024
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden

In Chile, citizens are Chileans, at least this is how it is described in the country’s Constitution. The “fact” that Chile is a mono-national state is an example of how realities are created by words. Since 1993, the country has legally recognised nine indigenous groups inhabiting its territory. Yet, this legal recognition has not translated in the pluri-national definition of the state. Based on a reflection and discussion of the process to rewrite the Constitution that followed the riotous uprisings of October 2019, this talk explores the entanglement of citizenship with nationality, and inclusion with belonging in Chile. As example, I focus on the case of the Mapuche people, the most prominent group in the country. In particular, I focus on the election and participation of the  Machi Francisca Linconao in the first constituent assembly elected to reform the Constitution. The Machi is first and foremost Mapuche, and her case  is illustrative about the disconnection between national identity, state and territory in the experience of citizenship. In fact, Chilean citizenship has framed the Mapuche as constitutive outsiders of the Chilean state. Using a story-telling approach, my aim is to question dominant notions of liberal citizenship. Linconao’s experiences serve as an example of how to disentangle national identity from the rights and responsibilities derived from, and attached to, citizenship.

About Daniela Vicherat Mattar

Daniela Vicherat Mattar is Associate Professor of Sociology at LUC, Leiden University College-The Hague, in the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs of Leiden University. Academically trained at the intersection of various fields in Chile, the UK and Italy, my research can be described with 3Cs: Cities, Citizenship and Care. I am interested in how material forms reflect larger social, cultural and political dynamics. I approach cities in Europe and Latin America by studying concrete formations (like public squares, malls, walls, open markets, museums), as well looking at socio-political engagements (social movements, collective action) and aesthetic forms of expression (street art, graffiti). In these three dimensions -the material, sociopolitical and aesthetic- people experience citizenship in various and paradoxical ways. A reflection on these tensions is the focus of this contribution.

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