(Re) la construcción de Mapucheness: el papel de las asociaciones mapuche para la resistencia de la identidad étnica en Santiago de Chile
Universidad de Londres
28 de marzo de 2019 15h30-17h30
(Re)constructing Mapucheness: The Role of Mapuche Associations for Ethnic Identity Endurance in Santiago de Chile
Dana Brablec Sklenar, University of Cambridge
The Mapuche culture is based on oral tradition and is customarily transferred within the family bosom. However, rural-to-urban migration, together with the multiple pressures the Mapuche face by living in an urban milieu, have resulted in the breakdown of traditional oral knowledge transmission. The distance of the Mapuche people from their rural communities of origin, coupled with the effects of socio-economic and racial discrimination, have resulted in a complex process of ethnic ascription, particularly impacting generations born in urban areas.
Participation in ethnic associations has become one of the most effective ways of affirming an initially unexplored identity in the city. Mapuche from different generations have looked for opportunities to interact with their ethnic peers in order to express and recreate their ethnicity in the city through the development of multiple ethnic-based activities. Cultural-based workshops, organised by urban Mapuche associations, have provided a protective and familiar environment for the revival of traditional practices. In this paper, I argue that urban Mapuche associations have been transformed into one of the main conduits for learning about culture and idiosyncrasies in the city, making ‘traditional’ Mapuche knowledge operative by recovering, appropriating, and actively preserving it. Drawing on data gathered from an eight-month period of fieldwork in Santiago de Chile, this paper presents a unique perspective on the vital associational role in the rescue and revitalisation of ethnic-cultural practices, which are fundamental for the (re)construction of Mapuche identity in the city.
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