South Atlantic Quarterly

A Politics of care from the Margins of Chile’s Social Uprising


Angel Aedo , Oriana Bernasconi , Damián Martínez , Alicia Olivari , Fernando Pairican

Juan Porma


This essay addresses the Chilean social uprising of 2019 through the experiences of Marta and Juan, two residents of the peripheries of Santiago, who became involved in this event despite having no previous experience of participation in social and political organizations. It explores this event’s strength in triggering contentious actions on the urban margins, and repression by the police‐criminal apparatus of the state. Delving into the ethical and biographical dispositions facilitating this couple’s politicization during the course of the revolt, it argues that the critical force of this event lies precisely in the entry of unexpected—even unwanted—actors into the political space. Through a biographical narrative approach, it details the shift of its protagonists. By way of subjectivation, this shift unfolds in them a critical attitude embodied in public interventions demanding equality and social justice and in acts of community and neighborhood solidarity. The case sheds light on a rarely explored dimension of social revolts: the way certain actors collectively experience these critical events through a politics of care, bringing the polis into the domestic space, and from such politicization of the oikos, opens an unusual way of challenging the police order of their world.