Accepted paper:

Poors with power? Contributions to understand the challenges of democracy and citizenship in communities experiencing poverty and deep social exclusion in Chile


Gianinna Munoz (University of Bristol)

Paper short abstract:

The approach to understand communities adopted by the Chilean state in the addressing of poverty and social exclusion. Some “community interventions“ are examined, reflecting on how these actions may contribute and hinder the exercise of citizenship and the consolidation of democracy.

Paper long abstract:

Social exclusion, as a multimensional, complex, dynamic and relative phenomenon is frequently experienced by communities living in poverty not only as the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, but also as an unbalance in power relations and margination from the public sphere. Social exclusion, from this perspective, is understood as a way to make explicit the power relationships that are underpinning poverty and as a crucial factor impeding the exercise of citizenship and the consolidation of democracy. In this vein, the question that guided this research was how these communities experiencing poverty in Chile take part in social interventions -the so called "community interventions", which are conducted by NGOs and funded by the Chilean State in order to reduce social exclusion. This presentation will discuss some of the perspectives that were found underlying these "community interventions" (neo-liberal/neo-conservative, progressive-communitarian and some elements from radical thought) and their operationalisation in practice (e.g. methods, techniques and activities undertaken by frontline professionals in community settings). Based on the research findings, some analyses of the idea of community within the current Chilean society, and the State social policy to address poverty and social exclusion focusing in communities will be developed. A reflection on how power can be redistributed in the Chilean society by promoting an anti-essentialist notion of citizenship in order to reduce the exclusion gaps will be also offered.

panel P01
On the shores of liberal democracy: exploring the reshaping of the community in the context of post-liberal governments in Latin America