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Research Article

Democratisation and State-Civil Society Relations in Chile, 1983-2000: From Effervescence to Deactivation

Author:

Patricio Silva

Abstract

This article focuses on the role civil society has played in Chilean national affairs during the military government and following democratic restoration in 1990. It attempts to provide an explanation for one of the key paradoxes the process of democratic transition has shown in this country: while Chile’s civil society played a very active during the military government, under democratic rule it has been characterized by its relative apathy and demobilization. A series of factors that could provide an explanation for this phenomenon of demobilization and depoliticization of Chilean civil society that are explored. These include the traumatic experience of military rule in the period 1973-1989, the fears for populism, the pacted nature of the democratic transition, the good economic performance of the country, and the relatively good functioning of institutions and the strength of the country’s political parties system.

En este artículo se analiza el rol jugado por la sociedad civil en Chile durante el período del régimen militar y a partir de la restauración de la democracia en 1990. En particular, se explora una de las principals paradojas del proceso de transición democrática en Chile. A saber, el hecho que tras el retorno de la democracia la sociedad civil chilena ha pasado a caracterizarse por su alto grado de apatía y marcada desmovilización, siendo que durante el período final de la dictadura se había mostrado muy activa. Para este objetivo, se presta atención a diversos factores que pueden ayudar a explicar el fenómeno de desmovilización y despolitización de la sociedad civil chilena, tales como la traumática experiencia del régimen militar en el período 1973-1989, el temor al populismo, la naturaleza pactada del proceso de transición, los buenos resultados económicos del país, el relativo buen funcionamiento de sus instituciones y la fortaleza del sistema de partidos políticos en el país.

How to Cite: Silva, P., (2002). Democratisation and State-Civil Society Relations in Chile, 1983-2000: From Effervescence to Deactivation. Iberoamericana – Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 32(2), pp.73–96. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16993/ibero.152
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Published on 01 Jun 2002.
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