Date of Award

Spring 4-18-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Professor Nancy Powers

Second Advisor

Professor Celso Villegas


For more than five decades, cultural production has been at the forefront of Chile’s largest social movements. From the Popular Unity movement of the 1970s to the pro-democracy movement of the 1980s, the student movement of the 2000s, and the estallido social (“Social Explosion”) of 2019, observing the trajectories of mass mobilization and political change reveals the consistent presence of the arts as a tool for popular communication and collective memory. This thesis develops four case studies situated within the past half-century of Chilean political history: examining the dynamics of culture, memory, deliberation, and democratization in two periods of demobilization (the apagón cultural [Cultural Blackout] of the 1970s and the memory impasse or “transitional silence” of the 1990s) and two periods of mobilization (the “invisible transition” of the 1980s and the “expressive spasms” of the 2000s and 2010s). To facilitate this investigation of the non-institutional side of democratic life, I develop a model of democracy’s socio-cultural drivers. My analytical framework synthesizes the interdisciplinary literatures of deliberative democracy and collective memory with an analysis of four practices of cultural production: music, graffiti, performance, and public spectacle.

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