The Women's Movement and the Transition to Democracy in Chile

The Women's Movement and the Transition to Democracy in Chile

The Women's Movement and the Transition to Democracy in Chile

The Women's Movement and the Transition to Democracy in Chile

Synopsis

Describes the mobilization of women against the Pinochet government and highlights women's interaction with traditional actors such as political parties during the democratic transition. Analyzes the success of the movement in carving a space for itself in the state, political parties and civil society, and attempts to understand the causes for the rise of an independent women's movement. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Excerpt

The rise of authoritarian governments and the process of democratization in Latin America witnessed the growth of social movements. In Chile, the defeat of the military regime is fairly recent and research on the connections between social movements and the democratic transition is limited. But the dynamics of the social movements that characterized Chilean society are important precisely because they played a crucial role in challenging the military government. This book is an attempt to clarify and highlight the rise, development and institutionalization of the women's movement in a Chile moving slowly and cautiously from authoritarianism to democracy. It also seeks to throw light on the impact of the women's movement on the process of democratization.

In the not so very recent past, protest was not even regarded as a legitimate topic of study because the dominant paradigm of modernization did not take political and social conflict into account. The focus of modernization theory lay on political parties, institutions, political culture and economic growth leading to modernization. When the study of protest and movements of protest did become acceptable in mainstream political literature they were explained by either using classical theories or resource mobilization theories. Cohen (1985) writes that the classical theoretical paradigm (made popular by the Chicago School) has an implicit bias, since it regards collective behavior as an irrational response to change. The classical theorists (Komhauser, Smelser, Davies, Gurr) do not provide us with plausible explanations for the rise of the women's movement in Chile because they consider social movements a response to stresses within society; they define individual discontent that results in social movements as a psychological rather than a political phenomenon (McAdam 1982). The psychological ramifications of social movements are important but so are the social and . . .

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