Victoria University

Female Politicians in Chile: Unfolding the Meanings and Implications for Chilean Politics in the Twenty First Century

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dc.contributor.advisor Grey, Sandra
dc.contributor.advisor Neale, Jenny Peréz, Paula Andrea Pereda 2011-11-09T19:57:59Z 2011-11-09T19:57:59Z 2011 2011 2011
dc.description.abstract The aim of this thesis is to unfold the meanings and implications of female politicians in Chile in the twenty-first century. Based on interviews with Chilean politicians and employing a methodology based on Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology and relational ontology, I unpack the complex relationships between gender and political power. My central claim is that the way in which female politicians are perceived by themselves and by male politicians, and how female politicians might affect views on political behaviour, is something widely influenced by the history and trajectory of Chilean politics. I explore issues of representation in politics and democracy and reassess the relevancy of the concept of representation for elaborating the meanings and implications of increased numbers of female politicians in Chile. Highlighting the strategic character of political practices, I analyse symbolic representation by looking at it from political representatives’ points of view. I problematize the complex relationships between democracy, representation, and economic development in the context of neoliberal globalization, in which the place of women in politics remains both promising and uncertain. I analyse interview data collected by integrating ‘conceptual blending theory’, critical discourse analysis and Bourdieu’s theory. From this integral perspective, I analyse political practices as both embodied experience and as a reflection of socio-political reality. Through a socio-historical journey, I explore the foundations of Chilean democracy, political participation, and representation. I argue that the main milestone which affects the meanings and implications can be found in Chile’s late granting of women’s suffrage (1949) and in the democratic breakdown during Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). I argue that Chilean political institutions of formal representation impede women’s descriptive, substantive, and symbolic representation from fully taking place in the Chilean political system. Interview analysis demonstrated that political institutional design is an expression and reflection of the shortcomings of Chilean political culture. This was found to prevent the furthering of a democracy in which female politicians are central actors. This political context sheds light on Michelle Bachelet’s presidential triumph in 2006, which represented a push for a more democratic and egalitarian society, as well as the political strategy by the weakened ruling coalition who sought to remain in power. Finally, I explore the temporal dimension of the meanings and implications of female politicians in Chile. By looking at the temporality of political processes, practices and institutions, I return to the symbolic dimension of representation. I demonstrate that the states of uncertainty and crises of politics offer contested spaces for political power distribution and for further elaboration on the private and public division of social life. The temporality of politics as social practice reflects its deeply gendered nature, as well as the arbitrariness of political power. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Women en_NZ
dc.subject Politics en_NZ
dc.subject Chile en_NZ
dc.title Female Politicians in Chile: Unfolding the Meanings and Implications for Chilean Politics in the Twenty First Century en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Social and Cultural Studies en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.marsden 370199 Sociology not Elsewhere Classified en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ Sociology en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Doctoral en_NZ Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified en_NZ

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