Street and Fire: Protests, Insurgencies and Conflict Management in Santiago, Chile.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Andrea ROCA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
The aim of this paper is to discuss the results of an ethnographic research that explores two phenomena that have gained great visibility in the latest round of global protests that began in 2011. On the one hand, it examines the incorporation of a performative, non-lethal, and small-scale violence in the repertoires of protest from minority groups such as noted in a diversity of cities like Athens, Cairo, Sao Paulo, and Santiago. On the other hand, it accounts for the return of direct confrontation tactics in policing protests, supported by a militarized logic of management of urban conflict. In a context of emerging alter-globalization movements, both issues compel me to (re)think, first, the role of violence "from below" in contemporary politics and, second, the apparent normalization of the conflict between police and protest, especially in recent years in Western democracies. Drawing on a qualitative perspective, I will thus analyze the intersections and overlapping of these two lines of force by inquiring the mobilization carried out by the student movement in Santiago, Chile, which started in 2011 and opened up the largest cycle of public protests in that country since the restoration of democracy in 1990. To do so, it is fundamental to situating these violent protest repertoires both in a synchronic and in a diachronic axis, the former to think of potential influences and similarities on a global scale and the latter to assess the weight the popular resistance against the Pinochet regime in the 1980s.