Crisis of Legitimacy: Revisiting the Years before Pinochet's Military Coup

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Oscar MAC-CLURE, Universidad de Los Lagos, Chile
In 1973, Pinochet's coup d'etat in Chile dramatically changed the life in this society and, during the 70's, authoritarian regimes dominated nations throughout most of Latin America. It was the response to a crisis of the existing system of domination. Throughout the 20th century, the reproduction of the system had been based on the capacity of the dominant classes to share power with the lower classes through contention strategies, but this had broken down at the end of the 60’s, producing a crisis of legitimacy of this "hegemony without domination", using the expression of Chilean Social Sciences National Prize Winner, T. Moulian (2006).

In what ways can comparative-historical sociology learn from this? We hold the view that, in regard to legitimacy, according to Beetham (1991:39), "social science may only appreciate its importance from the experience of situations where it is absent or under challenge".

Using experience and knowledge we have at the present, we will reanalyze the period's crisis of legitimacy, on the basis of surveys applied in 1969-1970 by the Chilean sociologist E. Hamuy. In first place, we will methodologically analyze the statistical representativeness and the validity of these surveys. Second and foremost, we will present previously unexamined sociological-statistical results of those surveys, which will allow a discussion the problems, challenges, expectations and discourses associated to the the social representations of (in)justice and the legitimacy of order. Subsequently we will explore their socioeconomic determinants. Finally, we will distinguish decisive processes from side aspects, discussing the concepts of legitimacy and crisis of legitimacy, yesterday and today.