The Ethics of Occupation: Appropriation and Alignment as Spatial Practice Among Mapuche Activists and Student Protesters in Santiago, Chile

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The Ethics of Occupation: Appropriation and Alignment as Spatial Practice Among Mapuche Activists and Student Protesters in Santiago, Chile

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2015-09

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This project is a choreographic and historiographic analysis of practices by which contemporary activists in Santiago, Chile create new embodied frameworks for the production of space. I study the relationship between the ongoing Chilean student rebellion and the Mapuche rights movement by examining divergences between the respective spatial practices of protest undertaken by student protestors and Mapuche activists. By spatial practices, I mean the embodied activities through which people produce and alter space. While student protestors frequently make performative and discursive connections to Mapuche, I question whether these connections constitute political alignments or appropriations of indigeneity. In order to investigate whether student protest practices align with Mapuche activist political projects, I analyze the ways that both student protestors and Mapuche activists enact radical reconfigurations of space in the city of Santiago through their embodied practices. I identify various performative mechanisms by which student protestors and Mapuche activists produce and change space, including (but not limited to) choreographic restructurings, sonic interventions, and embodied reimaginings. My ethnographic work focuses on case studies in order to show the distinct embodied frameworks for the production of space posed by students, often in contrast to those posed by Mapuche. My historiographic work historicizes the spatial practices I identify through an analysis of protest focused on spatiality. While most scholarly treatments of student and indigenous social movements conceive of protest as deliberative political enunciations addressed to a state apparatus, my project proposes an understanding of protest as spatial practice. This focus on space allows for a careful analysis of the differences between the everyday embodied practices of activists in the respective movements.

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2015. Major: Theatre Arts. Advisors: Margaret Werry, Cindy Garcia. 1 computer file (PDF); xlv, 178 pages.

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McKay, Kelly. (2015). The Ethics of Occupation: Appropriation and Alignment as Spatial Practice Among Mapuche Activists and Student Protesters in Santiago, Chile. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/175515.

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