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The Multiple Lives of Diversity in Post-dictatorship Chile

Abstract

Over the last two decades, various forms of ‘diversity work’ have become a requirement for clinical psychologists working with LGBTIQ+ people. Having been introduced as a response to a long history of pathologization, racist, and cisheteronormative forms of exclusions, diversity arrived to fix and repair past wrongs in a move that has been described as the “turn to diversity” in the psy disciplines. The latter has led to the development of affirmative approaches to mental health and LGBTIQ+ cultural competence training, with the USA and the UK being among the main exporters of such models. This chapter critically interrogates the work that the idea of the turn does to sexual and gender diversity in its arrival in the psy professions, using Chile as a case example. Drawing on sexual dissident, queer and critical race theorizations of diversity, I suggest a mode of interrogation into the workings of the turn that situates diversity within a broader history of arrivals and conceptual departing, whose politics is one of replacement, disappearance, and concealment of race and the conflicts associated with the past of the Chilean dictatorship. The chapter proceeds as follows. First, it sets out its key theoretical contribution by situating the diversity turn in relation to, and as continuation of, the histories of arrival of “multiculturalism” and the “rhetoric of consensus” in post-dictatorship Chile. By conceptualizing the turn to diversity as a process marked by a mechanism of concealment and replacement, I put forward a conceptual framework for thinking about sexual and gender diversity as having a psychic life. I explore this dimension through the concept of “haunting” as an analytic to address the turn in its ghostly presence through examples from fieldwork that looked at the practice of diversity work in Chile. The chapter concludes by suggesting a shift from an understanding of the turn in its forward-looking orientation that works instead as a form of returning that exposes the psy professions in their troubling relationship with race and the recent history of Chile.

Keywords

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The expression ‘diversity work’ draws on and adapts Sara Ahmed’s (2012) critique on the politics of diversity in higher education, which I take to point to the work of those involved in challenging the structures of inequality that shape access to what we know about LGBTIQ+ people.

  2. 2.

    “One people, one language, and one religion”.

  3. 3.

    Article 373. From Public Indignities to Good Manners. The article was established in the Penal Code in 1874. It has not been removed or modified despite several efforts to abolish it.

  4. 4.

    Law 19.617. Amends the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and Other Legal Bodies in Matters Relating to the Crime of Rape. The modification to the Penal Code – and resulting decriminalisation of homosexuality – was published in the Official Newspaper on 2 July 1999.

  5. 5.

    Movilh is the acronym for Movimiento de Liberación Homosexual (Homosexual Liberation Movement). Movilh Histórico refers to its foundation in 1991, before its internal ruptures. After the split, in 1995, the group added the word ‘integration’ to its name (Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement), “signalling the politics of assimilation and government collaboration for which it has been known” (Campbell, 2014, p. 17).

  6. 6.

    For a complete description of the methods, interpretive practices, ethical considerations, fieldwork scenes, and analysis, see the methodological and empirical sections of my doctoral thesis (Ojeda, 2021).

  7. 7.

    According to Kathya Araujo (2005, 2011), the continuation (and naturalisation) of the Catholic Church’s influence in public affairs during the democratic transition was associated with the Church’s hold on moral authority over the Chilean population, which the state delegated. This has changed dramatically in recent years (see Morán, 2018).

  8. 8.

    Chilean loca writer and performance artist whose work chronicles the impact of AIDS on the trans, travesti and loca community, and the political persecution and torture many of them faced at the hands of state agents during and after the coup d’état.

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This work was supported by the Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (ANID) / Scholarship Program / DOCTORADO BECAS CHILE/ 2017 - 72180458

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Ojeda, T. (2023). The Multiple Lives of Diversity in Post-dictatorship Chile. In: Frosh, S., Vyrgioti, M., Walsh, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_64-1

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