It Takes Two to Tango: Students, Political Parties, and Protest in Chile (2005–2013)

  • Marisa von BülowEmail author
  • Germán Bidegain Ponte
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


This chapter analyzes the interaction between social movements and political actors in a democratic context, with an emphasis on the relationship with political parties. Based on the case study of the Chilean student movement, it discusses how this movement has shown resilience and strong mobilization capacity, but at the same time faces great obstacles in reaching the broad impacts it seeks. In order to understand this paradox, we argue that it is important to consider the contradictory and ambiguous but progressive distancing between the student movement and traditional political parties. This process of distancing is traced back to the years 2005–2006, during a previous mobilization of high school students. In thinking about the strategies of the movement, the ideology of the governing coalition (right- or left-wing) matters less than for previous generations of activists, as does the political affiliation of representatives in Congress.


Social movements Student movement Chile Political parties Education 



Research discussed in this publication has been supported by various institutions: the Global Development Network (GDN), Fondecyt Project 1130897 and the Millennium Nucleus for the Study of Stateness and Democracy in Latin America, Project NS100014. The views expressed in this chapter are not necessarily those of GDN or of the other supporting institutions. We thank Joaquín Rozas and the other members of the Fondecyt research group for their help with the interviews conducted with student leaders, and Antoine Maillet and Sofía Donoso for comments on a previous version of this chapter. A preliminary version was debated in the seminar organized at the Political Science Institute at PUC-Chile, and we thank the many comments and suggestions received then.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Science InstituteUniversity of BrasiliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Political Science InstitutePontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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