Dissertation Abstracts

How class transition and racialized cultures impact on indigenous identities: the case of the Mapuche people with higher educational qualifications

Author: Sepúlveda Sánchez, Denisse , denisse.sepulveda@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk
Department: Sociology
University: University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Wendy Bottero
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Identities , Social mobility , Ethinicity , Mapuche
Areas of Research: Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations , Stratification , Social Classes and Social Movements


My research is centred on how mobility transitions impact on the racial and class cultures of Mapuche (indigenous people in Chile) with higher education and how these affect their identity and social practices. My methodological goal is to examine the role of social-mobility discourses of the Mapuche as a means for producing narratives of inequalities legitimisation and ethnic discrimination. In general terms, the goal of this research is focused on a small group of the Mapuche population, who live in Santiago city and have educational mobility, cross class and ethnic boundaries, challenging the common stereotype that Chileans have about the Mapuche.

Mapuche population is characterized as a disadvantaged group, because since the period of the Spanish conquest, indigenous groups in Chile have faced different (economic, social, territorial, cultural) inequalities, positioning unequal to the rest of the population. Moreover, the proportion of indigenous people who complete their higher education is less than a third of the proportion of non-indigenous people in the same situation (INE, 2002). However, an emergent group of Mapuche population have experience social mobility, thanks to integration policies strategies for indigenous population from the 1990s until now. Nevertheless, according to literature review they could have dealt with class tensions, ethnic boundaries and racism.