Comparative Politics

Collective memory and means of claims in democracies: Evidence from Chile (2019-2021)



This article argues that protests are a primary driver of political engagement in nations with a memory of institutional violence. The hypothesis is tested in the case of Chilean protests from October 2019 to March 2020 triggered by police violence Estallido Social and the Constituent Plebiscite conducted in October 2020 in response to the protests. Political violence plagues the history of Chile, in particular in the authoritarian era of the Pinochet regime. Qualitative evidence indicates a strong reaction from the civil society against this trauma. Quantitative assessment is done through Weighed LS and 2SLS estimates for 289 municipalities. The evidence suggests that where there was more political victimization in the Pinochet era, there was more engagement in the Estallido Social. However, these localities also participated less in the plebiscite and the voting on constituent members and made no more significant effort to favor any party coalition.


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