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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24819

Title: “On the Pawprints of Terror": The Human Rights Regime and the Production of Truth and Subjectivity in Post-authoritarian Chile
Authors: Macias, Teresa
Advisor: Razack, Sherene
Department: Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
Keywords: Human rights
Latin America
Truth commissions
National reconciliation
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2010
Abstract: In 1990, Chile made a successful transition from the authoritarian dictatorship that had ruled the country since 1973 to a democratically elected government. The authoritarian regime was characterized by massive and systemic practices of human rights abuses, and it left an official toll of 5,000 deaths, about 2000 of which constitute “detained and disappeared people”, and an additional 27,000 people who have been officially recognized as victims of torture. These figures do not take into account the unknown numbers of Chilean exiles, or those who were internally displaced or who lost their jobs due to their suspected political affiliations. The human cost of the military regime has continued to be one of the most enduring issues confronting the post-authoritarian Chilean nation. This thesis builds on the work of critical researchers who locate the Chilean authoritarian regime in the transnational politics of the Cold War and their effect in implementing neo-liberalism in Chile. This literature demonstrates that terror was a constitutive, rather than an incidental, element of neo-liberal governmentality: governmentality that inscribed itself on Chilean bodies through terror practices and that remains unscathed through the transition to democracy. With that premise in mind I explore, through a historical analysis of major conjunctures in the history of human rights debates in Chile, how the post-authoritarian nation accounts for the human rights legacies of authoritarianism while obscuring the continuity of authoritarian governmentality. I propose that human rights constitute a biopolitical governmental regime that in a manner comparable to the authoritarian terror captures human life within the realm of state power. As a regime, human rights submit experiences of terror to specific power-knowledge technologies that render terror intelligible, manageable and governable. Rather than promoting essential values of truth and justice, the human rights regime produces specific discourses of truth and justice as well as specific discourses of subjectivity and nation. In concrete terms, this thesis explores how the post-authoritarian nation and it subjects use the human rights regime to discursively construct a national truth in order to promote and protect specific governmental arrangements.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24819
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education - Doctoral theses

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