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Title: Space and politics in the 'Penguins' movement : geographies of the political construction of the Chilean student movement
Author: Hernandez Santibanez, I.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 1831
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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In 2006, Chilean secondary students, known as the Penguins because of their black and white school uniform, mobilised across the country to demand that education should be a right, not a privilege. Notwithstanding the political and academic debate they triggered regarding an unresolved agenda of equity and quality education, scholarship relating to the Penguins has been limited to analysing their external consequences. They remain a ‘failed’ student movement, since their demands were met with only limited technocratic reforms. This thesis examines the Penguins’ movement as a constructive process of collective identity no longer framed within limited political influence. It explores the origins of the movement and analyses how space and politics form the basis for its collective identity. It investigates elements of continuity and discontinuity in the 2011 student movement against the neoliberal market-oriented education system. Empirical data on the Penguins’ movement was collected through in-depth interviews with student activists, teachers, policy-makers and academics, and through secondary sources including official documents, academic editorials, and newspapers. Constructivist grounded theory was employed to develop an inductive comparative analysis of space and politics in the movement. Geography structures the construction of the Penguins’ movement. Spatialities of social mixing and a historical urban educational inequality are intricately linked to different geographies of student political activism. Prefiguration of politics in everyday practices is a key component for building a more egalitarian political movement. However, school occupations in 2006 became the specific places where collective identity and new territorialities evolved. The Penguins’ collective identity detaches the movement from the idea of failure and links with territorialities through which the demand for free, public quality education for all is re-envisioned in spatial rather than temporal terms. Further questions about the potential of the Chilean student movement to lead a political project for social transformation are also considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available