Dissertation Abstracts

Narrative identities of young Chileans. Mainstream convergences and deviant struggles

Author: Diego H. Padilla, diegopadillalobos@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
Supervisor: Prof. Eduardo Valenzuela
Year of completion: 2022
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Chile , neoliberalism , cultural criminology , male offenders
Areas of Research: Deviance and Social Control


Since the last part of the 20th century, several sociological perspectives have emerged endorsing the interweaving of social structure and the individual agency, serving to a new comprehension of social phenomena and their factual dynamics. In criminology, the conceptions about crime and its relationship with the mainstream cultural structure have been questioned – endorsing that allegedly conventional values may also form part of deviant manifestations. The purpose of this study is to disclose conventional standpoints in the accounts of young male adults who have committed property crimes, comparing them with socially well-regarded individuals – a comparison of “maximally different” people. Consequently, two sets of accounts were gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews, representing both deviant trajectories (12 participants, average age: 23 years old) and conventional ones (6 participants, average age: 23 years old). The analysis focused on differences and similarities between and within groups aiming at narratives related to everyday experiences and culturally-charged standpoints – especially examining critical “neoliberal” values and experiences related to individualism. The results show multiple points of convergence. This is particularly evident around valued goals such as family care and surprisingly, the rejection of consumerism. Moreover, future appraisals are also remarkably convergent, despite the notorious differences in past and present experiences. The results may be valuable in a twofold direction. On the one hand, the knowledge about the pro-social aspects of young offenders may improve social interventions. On the other hand, showing conventionalism in vulnerable groups often labelled as deviant may settle a more profound social critique around endorsed mainstream values in the Chilean consumer society.