Four keys to Chilean culture: authoritarianism, legalism, fatalism and compadrazgo

Carlos F. Gomez Diaz, Jenny K. Rodriguez Ortiz

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Chilean culture is said to be part of a wider Hispanic American culture that shares many traits (see Godoy et al. 1986; Subercaseaux 1999; Valdivieso and which could be identified as an identity with a Latin American sense (see Rodríguez et al. 2001). In this sense, though it may seem as if any attempt to describe or analyse particular operating elements, processes, systems and structures were a useless task, the nature of identity makes it a multiple and symbolically contradictory phenomenon, with relevant contextual 'consequences' and particularities that help identify a collective imaginary that can be associated with what means to be Chilean. As such, the importance of meaning lies not on its production but rather on its reception; therefore, we aim to address some elements of the reception that we have identified as 'critical' or 'diagnostic'. By 'critical', we mean those elements, which absence would substantively modify what is collectively associated with Chilean culture and by 'diagnostic', we suggest the possibility they offer of exploring meaningful contextual traits. In order to contextualise our analysis, we will focus on three discursive levels, namely organisational/structural, cultural/ideological and identity. At the organisational/structural level, we will make reference to structure and aesthetics in the broader sense of social context as well as in public and private organisations; at cultural/ideological level, we will make reference to practices, rituals, values and behaviours; and at the identity level we will make reference to strategies individuals use to manage their social identities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-65
Number of pages23
JournalAsian Journal of Latin American Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Chilean culture
  • authoritarianism
  • legalism
  • fatalism
  • compadrazgo
  • Chile


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