The #Nothing-to-Celebrate Campaign: Mapuche Online Media, De-Colonial Forms of Knowledge and Redefined National and Ethnic Identities

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Trinidad VALLE, Fordham University, NY, USA
The current Chilean media is characterized by its lack of plurality, where a few media conglomerates dominate the media landscape, thus the paramount need for alternative voices. This is a major concern for the Mapuche population, because Mapuche voices are largely underrepresented in the media.

The present research explores the role of online ethnic media in developing a counter-public sphere (Fraser, 1990), where alternatives narratives can be constructed and disseminated. In particular, the ethnic media narratives covering the Mapuche hunger strikes of 2008 and 2010 in Chile were studied, with particular attention to the campaign #nadaquecelebrar (nothing-to-celebrate) developed in 2010 during the celebration of the bicentenary of Chilean independence.

By focusing in the narratives selected by the ethnic media, with special attention to lexical selections to name key actors and events, the research analyzed the role of ethnic media not only in constructing a particular narrative to make sense of the Mapuche hunger strikes, but also a particular language to talk about the Mapuche cause and its social significance.

The narratives of the ethnic media were finally compared with the language used by mainstream printed media, to detangle the symbolic struggles over the process of naming. Particular attention was devoted to the different strategies of naming used by mainstream media, including processes of negative other-presentation and de-contextualization by the mainstream media (van Dijk, 2005).

The paper concludes analyzing how the ethnic media narratives can be analyzed as decolonial forms of knowledge (Mignolo, 2009), and their role in reconstructing a new Mapuche identity, a revitalized Mapuche identity within the context of a globalized society. Such strategies must be understood always in relation with the narratives of the mainstream media, as they are embedded in such struggles by symbolic power and challenges over the power of naming.