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        Writing about Workers, Reflecting on Dictatorship and Neoliberalism: Chilean Labor History and the Pinochet Dictatorship
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        Writing about Workers, Reflecting on Dictatorship and Neoliberalism: Chilean Labor History and the Pinochet Dictatorship
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This article explores the trajectory of Chilean labor history and its recent efforts to study workers’ experiences under the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990). Influenced by the impact of dictatorship on Chilean society as well as global historiographical debates, Labor Studies became an interdisciplinary and transnational field in Chile. This article focuses on the different academic traditions that have intersected with and contributed to the study of workers’ experiences under the dictatorship. It considers the multiple origins of New Labor Studies and includes the social history of both rural and urban movements, labor sociology, feminist historiography, and transnational history. It also looks at the multiple debates taking place in Chile and in other parts of the world. Bringing them together offers the opportunity to see the intersections, collaborations, and influences that have made the study of Chilean workers a dynamic field.


The writing of this article was made possible by a course release provided by the History Department at California State University of Los Angeles in spring 2017. I thank Larissa Corrêa for inviting me to present an earlier version of this article at the “Seminário Internacional Mundos do Trabalho e Ditaduras no Cone Sul” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in October 2015. I also thank Peter Winn for encouraging me to write this article and for his comments and suggestions.

On the cold morning of September 11, 1973, Chileans woke up to the imminent fall of democracy, while President Salvador Allende gave his last radio speech. Allende accused the military of breaking Chile's long constitutional tradition, and he praised working men and women, peasants, and the youth for their loyalty, commitment, and hard work during his short revolutionary presidency. The armed forces had the physical strength to overthrow his government, but, he reassured the country, “history is ours, and people make history.” During the dark years of dictatorship, Allende's final words reappeared on walls, in leaflets, and in songs, maintaining the hope that “sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again where free men will walk and build a better society.” Allende's speech also reminds us of the centrality of working people as historical and political actors and the importance of including workers to understand Chile's twentieth-century history.

The presence of workers in the country's public space inspired the development of labor studies in Chile. From the studies on working conditions published by social reformers at the beginning of the century to the birth of the new social history in the 1980s, the history of workers was at the heart of Chile's academic, economic, and political debates throughout the twentieth century.Footnote 1 The study of the working class intertwined with political and ideological struggles. In the 1950s, classic Marxist historians placed labor struggles at the center of the nation's history, a narrative that highlighted the evolution of the labor movement from the heroic strikes in the nitrate industry to the consolidation of labor parties.Footnote 2 By the time of the 1973 military coup, the study of working-class issues and the union movement had a solid place in the country's academic life and political imaginary. The dictatorship and transnational historiographical debates transformed Chilean academia. Beginning in the 1980s, Chilean labor and social historians looked beyond traditional institutions, union leadership, and the workplace. Some turned to social history to understand working people's everyday life, the process of working-class formation, political culture, larger social movements and demands, and female workers.

This historiographical essay explores the trajectory of Chilean labor history and its efforts to study the workers’ experiences during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990). The topic challenges us to bring together, in a single and coherent narrative, the debates taking place in Chile and those in other parts of the world. Despite dialog and collaboration, scholars have usually started from concrete political realities and academic traditions. They have engaged their topic of study and major theoretical paradigms differently. Their research agendas, Heidi Tinsman writes for the case of gender studies, reflect each region's unique “historical and political processes.”Footnote 3 However, it is impossible to separate academic streams. The transnational careers of many academics and the dialog, collaborations, and influences across regions have made the study of Chilean workers a dynamic field.

Today, most historians agree that labor history is more than just the study of labor unions and confederations, collective bargaining, union leaders, and the workplace. It also includes the many cultural, political, social, and economic factors that have shaped working-class identity and experience. However, historiographical essays tend to identify a single origin, reconstructing a teleological path from traditional union studies to new labor history. It is time that we turned to the different academic traditions that have intersected with and contributed to the study of workers’ experiences such as the social history of rural and urban movements and the feminist historiography. This approach is especially relevant in the case of Chilean historiography since few Chilean historians call themselves labor historians. Instead, they have preferred the broader term of social historians.

The article is organized in five sections. The first section provides an overview of the shift in Chilean historiography in the seventies and eighties and its impact on labor history. Understanding this shift as well as the relationship between historiographical turns and political goals are key pieces of this story. “The military coup of 1973 changed the course of Chilean history as well as of its historiography,” Julio Pinto persuasively writes.Footnote 4 Then, it turns to the three threads that have most influenced studies of workers under military rule: (1) Labor sociology; (2) Studies of working-class urban communities; and (3) feminist labor historiographies. As a mode of conclusion, the review explores recent historiographical contributions and offers an agenda for a new social history of working people under the Pinochet dictatorship.

The Experience of the Military Coup and the Transformation of Chilean Historiography

In September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet led a military coup that ended Chile's democratic socialist experiment. For the next seventeen years, Chile became a symbol of the militarization, violations of human rights, and the imposition of neoliberal reforms that would sweep the continent. Part of that story is the impact of the coup on universities, academics, and intellectual debates. Like other authoritarian leaders, the Chilean military considered scholars and artists a threat to national security, and it immediately targeted university communities and, with particular viciousness, social science departments. Many professors and university students experienced first-hand the repressive machine that was making the Pinochet regime infamous worldwide, and they were ousted without financial compensation.Footnote 5 Yet, despite the military attempt to silence critical ideas, intellectual debates flourished underground, in exile and abroad, and in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and independent research centers.Footnote 6

Salvador Allende's socialist experiment had inspired a myriad of studies from around the world. It also attracted countless visitors, many of whom developed long-term relationships with Chile and Chileans and, after the military coup, contributed to solidarity movements.Footnote 7 The numerous articles, editorial pages, and letters that appeared in the international press the days and months following the coup reflect the global impact of the events in Chile.Footnote 8 As Ann Jones explains in her study of international union solidarity, the “coup in Chile shattered more than the broad front of Chilean radicals—it fueled a firestorm of arguments over left strategy around the world.”Footnote 9 While it was neither the first nor the last coup in Latin America, the overthrow of a democratic socialist experiment had a symbolic impact and paved the way for larger, international solidarity involvement.Footnote 10 But non-Chilean scholars approached the study of Chile from their political positions, intellectual traditions, and realities. Latin Americanists in the United States, heavily influenced by dependency theory way into the 1980s, focused on the degree of US intervention and its responsibility in the military coup. In contrast, Western European scholars studied the fall of Chilean democracy within the larger debate about Eurocommunism and the rise of a neoconservative movement.

Following the military coup, Chilean scholars in Chile and in exile reflected on the mistakes of the Left, the meanings of Salvador Allende's defeat, and the possibilities of resistance.Footnote 11 After 1975, Chilean historian Gabriel Salazar argues, intellectuals and political activists initiated a process of “reflection and search.”Footnote 12 This process was part political self-criticism, but also a theoretical examination on the viability of a democratic transition to socialism and, in the end, the entire socialist model. Scholars also questioned the possibilities of traditional Marxist approaches, both as an analytical and theoretical tool and a political project. From a larger perspective, this introspection paralleled and interacted with, Salazar explained, the “crisis of contemporary Marxism.”Footnote 13

In the late 1970s, Pinochet's efforts to institutionalize the regime and replace Chile's constitution and laws became clearer. It was, many argued, a counterrevolution. Advised by the Chicago Boys, a group of economists influenced by Milton Friedman, the military government deregulated the national economy, privatized state companies and services, flexibilized the labor market, and eroded social protections such as social security and health care. These were the seven modernizations that made Chile the icon of neoliberalism around the globe. These reforms mirrored the publications of right-wing analysts. Economists such as Sergio de Castro and José Piñera provided the regime with the intellectual foundations for the changes that were taking place at the time.Footnote 14 While Jaime Guzman, a lawyer, influenced the constitutional process, neoconservative historians such as Gonzalo Vial Correa supported the military efforts by erasing the contributions of social and labor movements from national history. In 1987, Joaquín Lavín celebrated the neoliberal modernization of the country in Chile: una revolución silenciosa [Chile, a Silent Revolution]. The following year, Eugenio Tironi revealed the enormous human cost of this authoritarian transformation in Chile: Los silencios de la revolución [Chile, the Silences of the Revolution]. More than ever history was a contested terrain.Footnote 15

Influenced by national and international debates as well as the experience of exile, Chilean historians redefined social history.Footnote 16 In the UK, a group of Chilean historians that included Leonardo León, Luis Ortega, and Gabriel Salazar founded Nueva Historia. Influenced by British new labor history, Nueva Historia incorporates working people's experiences and identities into social and economic historical narratives.Footnote 17 Within this group, Salazar had the most influence on labor history. His book, Labradores, peones y proletarios [Farm Workers, Peons, and Proletarians] was published by the NGO SUR in 1985, and became, according to Julio Pinto, “a sort of paradigm of the new proposal.” Salazar examined the impact of the expansion of capitalism on working people and, what he calls, the crisis of a traditional popular society.Footnote 18 While he focused on the nineteenth century, he has influenced a generation of Chilean historians to looking beyond a traditional Marxist definition of the working class and the union hall, employing the more fluid concept of popular classes (bajo pueblo).

In a more recent study, Salazar has defended the importance of this historiographical turn, although, for him, it is one that is still incomplete. Traditional historians, Salazar argues, “have privileged [the study of] political parties, the political class, foreign and imported ideology, the working class—those who are employed, have a job, a labor union, a political party, and are protected by social legislation.” Historians, Salazar continues, have ignored “the large mass of marginalized people, women, children, the youth, shantytown residents, and those who have problems with the judicial system.”Footnote 19 Salazar's emphasis on the social experience has also led to some important debates within Chilean new social history. Sergio Grez, for example, has argued the need to pay more attention to politics, political movements, and the political ideas and proposals of working people.Footnote 20 Grez has brought attention to the shifting influence of Anarchism and Communism on working people during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the role of the Democratic Party in advancing labor legislation, and the early history of the social question.Footnote 21

In tandem with the UK-based historians, historians in Chile, many of them working in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and independent academic centers such as ECO, FLACSO, and SUR, also became interested in social history.Footnote 22 Despite limited resources, scholars explored new methodologies and approaches to social science including questions of gender and sexuality, oral history, community studies, and collective memory.Footnote 23 It was a hectic time. Many of these NGOs, Chilean historian Mario Garcés reflects, played two important roles: “to support popular organizations as well as social research directly.”Footnote 24 The intersections of academic and political goals produced exciting work in what James Green called “movements history.”Footnote 25

Building on a long tradition of popular education, historians Mario Garcés and Pedro Milos working at the NGO Educación y Comunicaciones/Education and Communication (ECO) during the 1980s, developed historical teaching materials and organized local workshops for grass-root organizations. For example, ECO produced a short book on the history of labor confederations in Chile to raise historical questions, inform the ongoing debate about the labor movement, and contribute, then, to its reunification. By making its work accessible to a wider audience, ECO empowered working people and provided them with a sense of their history, a history that an official and militarized narrative permanently denied.Footnote 26

The historiographical renovation that took place in Chile interacted with the transformation of Latin American history and studies in the North Atlantic world.Footnote 27 In 1976, Brian Loveman, a political scientist, published the first comprehensive study on rural unionization in Chile. He placed the struggle for land into a long historical framework from 1919 to 1973, demonstrating the enormous political power of landowners to limit the enforcement of the law and prevent the transformation of labor, social, and economic relations in the countryside.Footnote 28 In 1983, Peter DeShazo published his study on urban workers in early-twentieth-century Chile. DeShazo challenged traditional historical interpretations that had emphasized the centrality of nitrate miners and the Communist Party in the Chilean labor movement during the early twentieth century. Building on a bottom-up approach, he stressed the importance of urban and transportation workers and the influence of Anarcho-syndicalists. A few years later, in 1986, Peter Winn published Weavers of Revolution.Footnote 29 Influenced by factory studies and based on an impressive array of oral history, Winn used the microstudy of one factory, Textile Yarur, as a window into the larger history of working people in the twentieth-century. Like other factory workers, textile workers faced enormous difficulties in organizing and challenging the power of factory owners. By 1970, they celebrated the victory of Salvador Allende and carried on a revolution from below. Winn also became one of the first historians to extend labor history beyond the 1920s, well into the twentieth century, addressing decades rarely touched by Chilean historiography.Footnote 30

In 1990, only a few months after the return of democracy, the journal Proposiciones, published by SUR, dedicated an issue to social history and the study of the bajo pueblo. The special issue included articles by both Chilean and non-Chilean historians such as Peter Winn, Arnold Bauer, and Argentine scholar Luis Alberto Romero. The topics addressed reflected the broad range of issues and debates that characterized social history internationally at the time, from a study on abandoned children to an examination of the methods of control an discipline used in the mining industry. It was a showcase of recent historiographical turns and the commitment of scholars to questions of social justice an the re-democratization of society. Stated by Salazar in his introduction, the new social history was more than just another historiographical turn, but it had a special place in the struggle for democracy:

Today, historical revisionism is not another experiment made by a stubborn and premodern researcher. It is rather a social need. And a need that not only has to do with the poor and de-historicized mass of this country, but also with the possibility of establishing a sense of national unity that is more social and dynamic than the one imposed by conservative historiography….Footnote 31

Since the 1990s, the history of Chilean working people has expanded and echoed new debates in academia. Julio Pinto, who received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1991, has become a leading figure in the re-examination of the nitrate industry, now from a class formation point of view, and the study of popular politics.Footnote 32 While the nitrate and mining industry has continued to be the heart and soul of labor history in Chilean academia, in the last decade, historians have started exploring questions of food, child labor, the role of international labor organizations, and the impact of industrial paternalism.Footnote 33 In the United States , Elizabeth Q. Hutchinson, Thomas M. Klubock, Jody Pavilack, Joel Stillerman, and Heidi Tinsman have studied the intersections between labor history and gender, everyday politics, consumption, and the environment. Other historians have contributed to labor history by looking at sports, family relations, and the middle class.Footnote 34 French historian Franck Gaudichaud has studied workers’ experiences during the Popular Unity, with a particular focus on the industrial belts (cordones industriales), whose geographically defined organizations, provide a bottom-up perspective on the political and labor activism of the most “revolutionary” workers.Footnote 35 However, despite this rich academic production, now more diverse than ever, there is a still a sense that labor historians have made only a few timid attempts to explore the Pinochet Era.Footnote 36

From Labor Sociology to a History of the Labor Movement

Labor sociology has a long tradition in Chile. It dates back to the foundation of a center for the study of labor sociology at the University of Chile in 1956, the exchange with US industrial relation scholars such as James Morris in the 1960s, and the influential work and long-term collaboration with French sociologist Alain Touraine.Footnote 37 Unlike the traditional Marxist scholars that focused on nitrate miners, labor sociologists in the 1960s looked at the industrial world and the transformation of labor relations throughout the twentieth century.Footnote 38 The influence of Touraine is remarkable and spanned from the 1960s through the 1990s. Touraine visited Chile regularly throughout the 1960s, and many Chilean academics studied under his guidance at the École of Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Francisco Zapata, a Chilean sociologist who studied with Touraine in the 1960s and has lived in Mexico since the military coup, explained that the French sociologist encouraged them to look at the influence of the work process on both workers’ political behaviors and the characteristics of the union movement.Footnote 39

In tandem with the study of industrial relations and in conjunction with the process of Agrarian Reform and rural unionizations, a group of sociologists, economists, and agricultural scientists turned to the countryside.Footnote 40 They mostly focused on the land tenure system, showing the political, economic, and social exploitation of peasants living and working on large properties (haciendas).Footnote 41 While these studies advocated the radical transformation and modernization of the countryside, they, José Bengoa reflected, paid little attention to the characteristics of peasants as social and historical actors.Footnote 42

Under the Pinochet dictatorship, the repression of the labor movement, a new legal framework to regulate labor relations, and economic reforms transformed the union hall, the workplace, and the working-class community. Between 1979 and 1982, José Piñera, Minister of Labor, carried out a draconian Labor Plan. In broad terms, these laws considerably limited the right to strike, undermined job security, and eroded union power. Despite their anti-union character, the Labor Plan opened a small space for the reorganization of the labor movement and the election of new union leaders. These legal reforms were profound, and they became the backbone of a larger neoliberal agenda. Throughout the rest of the decade, manufacturing jobs shrank, agricultural jobs became almost exclusively seasonal, and the most dynamic sectors of the economy were service and agribusiness.Footnote 43

Would the labor movement be able to survive these economic and political changes and, more importantly, rearticulate after the return of democracy? Was the traditional dependent relationship between labor unions and political parties and the state still valid? What would happen to the peasant unions? Labor sociologists examined the impact of the Labor Plan, the economic recession of the early 1980s, and neoliberal restructuring on the labor movement.Footnote 44 They demonstrated that local unions had lost their political contacts, and that despite efforts to reorganize a national labor confederation, most unions were small, isolated, and dispersed. The Labor Plan had also reduced the role of the state, and, for the most part, workers were on their own facing powerful employers. In the countryside, conditions were more dismal. In complicity with land owners, the dictatorship had assassinated and disappeared peasant leaders and activists, imposing a state of terror. The reversal of the Agrarian Reform and rapid modernization transformed the labor market, accelerated rural-urban migration, and consolidated the power of large agribusiness.Footnote 45 Dictatorship and neoliberalism had completely transformed Chilean society.

As military coups took place throughout the Southern Cone and waves of expatriates encountered each other in exile, scholars examined the similarities across the region. In 1981, the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation in Amsterdam sponsored an international conference titled Trade Unionism and Authoritarian Regimes in Argentina and Chile.Footnote 46 In the following years, labor sociologists and political scientists would look at the Southern Cone countries as examples of the experience of workers and unions under authoritarian regimes.Footnote 47 J. Samuel Valenzuela debated the experience of workers under authoritarian regimes, and, a few years later, Paul Drake published an innovative analysis of organized labor under authoritarian regimes in the Southern Cone and Southern Europe.Footnote 48 However, there is no truly transnational history, and themes such as international labor solidarity and labor migration have only very recently attracted scholarly attention.Footnote 49 While labor sociologists initially explored the similarities of authoritarian regimes and labor movements, more research is needed to understand the impact of neoliberal reforms and economic restructuring across the region and the extent to which Chile became a model.

The plebiscite of 1988 created momentum for the study of labor and attracted massive international attention. In March 1989, a few months before the first democratic presidential election, a group of scholars met at the University of California, San Diego to “analyze the transition from authoritarianism in a long-term and comparative perspective.” They looked back at the 1980s and examined the erosion of military power and the crisis of dictatorship that led to Pinochet's defeat in the plebiscite. In 1991, the book, edited by Paul W. Drake and Iván Jaksić, included articles by influential Chilean authors like Manuel Antonio Garretón, Felipe Larraín, and Augusto Varas. In the chapter on the labor movement, British political scientist Alan Angell, author of a classic study on the relationship between the state and labor movement, analyzed the challenges faced by trade unions in the context of the transition to democracy.Footnote 50 Skeptical of their chances to recover their pre-dictatorship influence, Angell underlined the legal restructuring imposed by the Labor Plan, the changes in the labor market, and the historical marginalization of women workers from the trade union movement. He also recognized the existence of other social movements such as the one in the shantytowns and raised questions about the possible relationship between labor unions and these other organizations.

Most of these publications were essays that responded to the political challenges of the time, reflecting on the future possibilities of the trade union movement in a democratic Chile. Economists from CIEPLAN, a think tank created in 1976 to analyze economic reform and public policy in Latin America, also joined this conversation. Given the electoral contexts of 1988–1990, these reflections and spaces of discussion influenced public policy, and they became a way to think about the future of Chilean labor and economic policy. For example, René Cortázar, an economist from CIEPLAN and the first Minister of Labor after the return of democracy, published extensively about changes in the labor market, unemployment, and the national economy. In front of these changes, he believed that the pre-1973 model of labor relations was obsolete, and instead that a “modern” system could include flexible contracts and little room for the state and political parties to intervene.

In the 1980s, labor sociologists offered a broad view of the impact of dictatorship and neoliberalism on the Chilean labor movement and larger labor confederations.Footnote 51 Since the return of democracy in 1990, labor sociologists have turned to the contradictions of democracy, the lack of labor reform, and the long-term impact of neoliberal reforms on Chilean workers and the union movement.Footnote 52 Rural sociologists, on the other hand, had explored the feminization of labor and the overall deterioration of working conditions, demographic changes, and the coexistence of large agribusiness with clusters of rural poverty.Footnote 53 One of the most important recent turns in rural studies is the incorporation of the categories of race and ethnicity and gender, allowing scholars to provide a more complex view of the countryside. The recent interdisciplinary scholarship on the Mapuche people clearly reflects this trend.Footnote 54

Studies of Working-class Communities

Labor historians have long looked at communities and neighborhoods as spaces of working-class formation, socialization, and politicization.Footnote 55 This broader perspective has shed light on workers’ lives and experiences outside the traditional workspace such as leisure time, family relations, and popular culture.Footnote 56 This turn to the neighborhood also highlights the experience of working people who had no formal or permanent employment or were not members of the organized labor movement. In other words, studying the intersections between work and community spaces allow historians to explore the lives of what Gabriel Salazar has called “popular” classes. From this standpoint, one of the most prominent spaces to study working-class communities in dictatorial Chile has been the shantytowns, in Chile called poblaciones. During the years of the dictatorship, shantytowns were sites of repression and resistance. Devastated by the implacable neoliberal reforms and the dismantling of social rights and infrastructure amid the long and profound economic crisis of the 1980s, pobladores struggled to survive in a city that pushed them to the margins, both physically and socially. They were the other side of the so-called “economic miracle.” Despite police brutality and high levels of unemployment and poverty, the urban poor became the most symbolic image of the resistance against the dictatorship.

Influenced by the long tradition of urban studies in Chile and Latin America, the 1980s-urban crisis and new historiographical debates, a group of scholars turned to the urban poor and their resilient communities.Footnote 57 They studied the social and urban movements of the second half of the twentieth century, placing the struggles of the 1980s in a longer historical movement to access housing and democratize the city.Footnote 58 Profoundly interdisciplinary, urban scholars incorporated the methodologies that became emblematic of the new social history of the 1980s such as oral interviews and ethnographies. The work of Alain Touraine on social movements and actors also influenced urban studies.Footnote 59 In the mid-1980s, Vicente Espinoza recalled, scholars held many discussion sessions with pobladores. In these instances, pobladores reflected about their history and future and the methods of struggle.Footnote 60 Again, academic and political goals intertwined in most research projects conducted under the umbrella of NGOs in the 1980s.

With a long tradition in urban, social, and community studies, historian Mario Garcés is the leading urban and social scholar today in Chile. During the dictatorship, he worked as a historian and popular educator at the ECO and was the author of educational materials that emphasized a popular labor history and the workers’ own construction of their historical narrative. Later in the 1990s, he continued his research on the transformation of Santiago during the second half of the twentieth century. In 2002, Garcés published his doctoral dissertation, Tomando su sitio: El movimiento de pobladores de Santiago, 1957–1970.Footnote 61 By focusing on urban social movements, he also questioned traditional political and historical approaches that have exclusively focused on organized labor, arguing for a more inclusive view of working people and their organizations. In collaboration with Sebastián Leiva, Garcés published El Golpe en la Legua. Based on oral interviews, the authors reconstructed the day of the military coup in La Legua, an emblematic working-class neighborhood in Santiago. In La Legua, industrial workers, neighbors, and political activists joined forces and resisted, for a few hours, the coup.Footnote 62

While scholars initially concentrated on the period preceding the military coup, a few have studied the Pinochet era. In Shantytown Protest in Pinochet's Chile, for example, Cathy L. Schneider looked at the long history of urban struggles and grassroots activism that characterized shantytowns before and during the dictatorship. For Schneider, the Communist Party and its clandestine culture deeply influenced social movements in Santiago shantytowns, while Philip Oxhorn sees the Catholic Church, not leftist political parties, as the inspiration and organizer.Footnote 63 Alison Bruey studied the history of two emblematic working-class poblaciones in Santiago, La Legua and Villa Francia, and came to the conclusion that it was both the “Communist culture” of the combative poblaciones and their progressive Catholic priests that together explain their activism. With the support of radical political parties and the Catholic Church, the residents La Legua and Villa Francia were at the forefront of the protests of the 1980s.Footnote 64 Building on a long tradition of resistance, the urban poor organized, resisted, and confronted repression, economic crisis, and neoliberalism. Edward Murphy focused on how, throughout the twentieth century, working people have struggled to find a home in Santiago as part of a larger demand for citizenship and economic inclusion. Housing rights, urban scholars argue, have historically been at the center of the country's political debate, motivating not only the land seizures that became emblematic during the 1960s but also the struggle for democracy in the 1980s.Footnote 65

Urban studies have contributed to a better understanding of the lived experience of the majority of working people during the years of dictatorship, demonstrating the importance of looking at communities. At a time of high rates of unemployment, the turn to the neighborhood has underscored the many aspects of workers’ everyday lives. Despite the clear intersections between labor and urban studies, only a few studies have brought them together. Peter Winn shows the strong influence of the neighborhood and the community institutions, such as sports clubs, on textile workers before the military coup. Unlike a previous generation of textile workers who had migrated from the countryside, Winn argues, the youngsters grew up in a radical working-class neighborhood. In his work about MADECO, Chile's largest copper manufacturing plant in Santiago, Joel Stillerman demonstrated the relationship between the factory and the surrounding community. Stillerman has also investigated how consumption practices and spaces changed under the Pinochet dictatorship. More work is still needed to connect the workplace to the neighborhood better and to explain how work or lack of work influenced working-class communities.Footnote 66 Another limitation of the urban literature for this period is its almost exclusive focus on Santiago, and we still know very little about urban communities located outside the capital city.Footnote 67

Working Women and a Feminist Labor Historiography

Intersecting with the urban and social movement discussion has been the outstanding work done by feminist scholars. In the 1980s, social scientists started paying increasing attention to the experience of working-class women at a time of economic crisis, political repression, and urban transformation. Until very recently, this was the work of social scientists, not historians, and was connected to Chilean research centers and NGOs working with women's organizations during the dictatorship. They incorporated a gendered analysis, looking at the experience of living under dictatorship from the female perspective. Women organizations like Women for Life played an influential role in the struggle for democracy and human rights movements and, in the process, challenged traditional gender norms. In the context of a growing feminist movement in the country, women's struggles were part of a larger historical narrative that went beyond the period of dictatorship and responded to the historical oppression of Chilean women.Footnote 68 In a research paper from 1987, Teresa Valdés summarized the concerns of women's studies at the time: “The military government places Chilean women under a double dictatorship: It adds a political dimension to the millenarian gender domination of a patriarchal society. This double oppression combined. Women carry the burden of the imposed economic model, and they become more vulnerable to ideological manipulation and terror.”Footnote 69 Aware of this double oppression, feminist activists and scholars began demanding democracy in the home as well as in the nation.

In the 1980s, women's studies in Chile contributed new paradigms, epistemologies, and methodologies. The projects were based on extensive fieldwork that included surveys, oral interviews, and ethnographic observations. Influenced by the work of Daniel Bertaux, Franco Ferrarotti, and Gaston Pineau, they explored how women lived through the time and the historical importance of personal narratives and testimonies.Footnote 70 One of the most influential NGOs working with women during the years of dictatorship was the Centro de Estudios de la Mujer (CEM), founded in 1984. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, CEM sponsored some of the most relevant research on women in the countryside (peasants, rural workers, and temporeras), indigenous women, women in the informal sector, and domestic workers. Its activities also included workshops for working women and pobladoras, an example of the intersections between research and activism that drove radical intellectuals in the 1980s and beyond.Footnote 71

The feminist scholarship and its extensive collection of documents (interviews and testimonies) highlighted the presence of women as political actors, but also their economic role in the family, the relationship between women and informality, and the feminization of poverty.Footnote 72 Women were central figures in their families but also the target of the military gender agenda.Footnote 73 For example, Teresa Valdés and Marisa Weirstein published an exhaustive overview of women pobladoras in 1993. Based on many years of working with women organizations in the greater Santiago metropolitan area, Valdés and Weirsten reflect that the economic changes and the repression of popular networks and social institutions transformed women's organizations.Footnote 74 Women became the pillar of human rights movements and fought for the return of democracy.Footnote 75

The political and social visibility of women under dictatorship, Thomas Klubock maintained, inspired the rise of a feminist scholarship and the efforts to incorporate women as historical subjects.Footnote 76 In 1992, the University of Santiago sponsored the first “Women's History Workshop,” bringing together a new generation of Chilean and US academics.Footnote 77 However, most of gendered labor history, Chilean historians María Soledad Zárate and Lorena Godoy stressed, has focused on the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.Footnote 78 Within that chronological era, historians have explored the experience of industrial workers, women's labor organizations, their contributions to the nitrate economy and, more recently, the construction of masculinity in the workplace, but a gendered labor history is still the exception, not the rule.

One of the exceptions is US historian Heidi Tinsman. Her first monograph focused on how traditional ideas of gender and family shaped the process of Agrarian Reform and subordinated women to a male-headed family. In a later article, she turned to the experience of women seasonal workers in export agriculture during the 1980s. By looking at gender, labor, and consumption, Tinsman provides a complex view of globalization and dictatorship. New job opportunities empowered women, opening opportunities for consumption and socialization. But the transformation of the countryside under the dictatorship had not only reversed the process of Agrarian Reform but also made jobs seasonal, feminized, and precarious. The new and modernized fruit packings, like the ones analyzed by Tinsman, relied on rural women who had never worked outside the home before and working-class women, who commuted from poor villages and cities. Despite the resilience of some of the traditional peasant organizations, rural workers faced immeasurable obstacles to organize.Footnote 79

Despite the growing influence of women and gender history in Chile, we still know very little about women's work experiences during the dictatorship and the rise of neoliberalism and globalization. Most of the scholarship continues to be based on women's roles in the Human Rights movement, and we know almost nothing about their participation in the labor movement. Emphases on the larger confederations as representative of the union movement and the most emblematic have contributed to marginalizing women from historical accounts. In contrast, understanding women's roles in the context of a changing labor market and the rise of new economic activities, such as the case of export agriculture described by Tinsman, would offer a more complex view of working class life under the Pinochet dictatorship.Footnote 80

New Directions

Between 1973 and 1989, Chilean workers suffered the violation of civil, political, and labor rights. They were also victims of neoliberal reforms and economic experiments. On the eve of the return of democracy, five million people lived in poverty, around 38 percent of the population. While social scientists have provided a periodization and general framework to place these changes, labor historians’ contribution is to provide a perspective from the bottom up. We still know little about how different groups of workers navigated the Labor Plan, how many strikes and labor negotiations took place, how technology and new managerial strategies transformed the workplace, and how repression and neoliberalism changed workers’ culture and worldview.

In 2004, Peter Winn edited a volume on Chilean workers’ experiences with neoliberalism and dictatorship, offering a myriad of cases from industrial and economic sectors. The chapters highlight stories from the margins of Chilean society, such as fishing and forestry, as well as traditional union enclaves, such as mining and manufacturing. The stories, Paul Drake states in his forward to the book, question “the most successful economic experiment in Latin America since the 1970s” and illustrate how the Pinochet dictatorship reshaped Chilean society, deepened economic inequality, and marginalized workers. Victims of the Chilean Miracle is a starting point for a larger social history of the dictatorship, one that centers on working women and men and how they lived, adapted, and resisted job restructuring, de-industrialization, and the privatization of education, social security, and health care.

Victims of the Chilean Miracle demonstrated the importance of case studies to understand the consequences and legacies of globalization, neoliberalism, and authoritarianism.Footnote 81 While most workers suffered under military rule, the authors argued, there were some nuances. In the copper mines, economic restructuring and legal reforms caused a wave of protests including walkouts, marches, and hunger strikes. Copper workers were among the first to protest against the dictatorship and they played a leading role in the reorganization of a national labor movement. Although their unions have remained active and influential under democracy, they had to adapt to production restructuring and subcontracting.Footnote 82 Like copper workers, metal workers have also faced rapid technological change and work restructuring since the late 1970s, while consumption and cultural change undermined the traditional ties that bind together the community. Textile workers faced a shrinking labor market and ruthless employers, and most of their strikes ended in massive layoffs. Thriving export activities such as fishing and table grapes became known for their female and seasonal workforce, meager salaries, harsh working conditions, and long working-hours. In the south of the country, the expansion of forestry plantations degraded the local ecology, displaced communities, and established an abusive work system based on subcontracting.

The underside of Chile's economic growth is the destruction of the natural environment and its legacies of environmental injustice. Working-class, peasant, and indigenous communities have suffered from the heavy use of chemicals and pesticides, toxic emissions, and water and soil pollution. In La Frontera, Thomas Klubock demonstrates the detrimental environmental and social impact of Chile's forestry industry on the landscape and society of southern Chile. He links Chile's rural labor history to its environmental history, arguing the importance of an environmental labor perspective. It is a new field in Chile, but is also one that still faces many obstacles before it can consolidate itself as a field of study.Footnote 83

Despite repression, workers organized at the national level. In 1976, a group of Christian Democratic and Radical unions protested the suspension of labor rights. Despite persecution, labor leaders continued to come together. Some met under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, while others started rebuilding old political networks. In the 1980s, national labor confederations participated in the protest movements, leading many of the national strike days. Rodrigo Araya has studied these efforts, demonstrating the contributions of the labor movement to the struggle for democracy. Based on a wide range of Chilean and international sources, Araya has integrated organized labor as an essential piece in the study of dictatorship and democracy.Footnote 84

A better understanding of workers’ experiences during the dictatorship requires overcoming Chile's traditional national focus and including a transnational perspective. Although the period of the Pinochet dictatorship could provide one of the most obvious spaces in which to explore transnational influences, comparative, international, and transnational labor studies of this period remain to be done. Peter Winn's remarks from 2013 are still valid: “fierce focus of Chilean labor historians and students on national—not international—labor history.”Footnote 85 Studies on international solidarity and the experience of Chileans in exile, such as Ann Jones’ study of Australian and British union solidarity, suggest the many possibilities of this perspective. “Trade unions were essential to the Chilean solidarity movement: throughout the dictatorship one union or another provided the base of support for solidarity activities. Trade unionists were among the most committed individuals to the solidarity movements.”Footnote 86 In her latest book, Heidi Tinsman analyzes the relationship between Chile's agribusiness boom and US consumption in the Cold War, paying special attention to how grapes became a symbol of labor abuses and a target of boycotts. Her work is a transnational study that integrates rural labor and gender history.Footnote 87

The possibilities of researching Chile's recent past are promising today. Chilean historians have worked hard to recover and publish primary source collections, memories, and oral interviews that speak about the everyday experience of working people. In 2009, Elizabeth Lira and Hugo Rojas made available the ILO reports on Chile, suggesting the importance of international documents. In 2014, Araya published an impressive collection of documents about the dictatorship that includes sources from Spanish and Chilean archives and personal collections.Footnote 88 Also relevant have been the publications of biographies, memoirs, collections of letters, and oral interviews. The memoir of Mireya Baltra, for example, not only offers a personal account of a union and communist activist and former Minister of Labor under Allende—Chile's first female cabinet member—but also a reflection on how the intersections of gender and class affected her history. Also, there are several efforts to compile the many contributions and to write biographies of emblematic labor leader Clotario Blest.Footnote 89 Additionally, new archival collections such as the Archivo de la Vicaría de la Solidaridad and FASIC are now open to the public.

In sum, in light of the recent historiographical turns, it is critical to examine the history of working people under the Pinochet dictatorship from a broad social history and transnational perspective. Building on the rich literature on the union movement, scholars can explore the relationship between labor confederations and grassroots organizations, account for other influences such as the Catholic Church and its labor department, and provide a bottom-up perspective on local labor unions, including those led by women workers. By incorporating workers’ living experiences, historians can begin to understand the devastating impact of neoliberalism on working-class communities and the complexity of those communities beyond the traditional blue-collar and industrial identity. Research on consumption, housing rights, sports, and gender and family has provided a more complex view of resistance, adaption, and transformation of work and life under Pinochet. Finally, it is time to overcome the historiography's focus on Santiago and include more regional and rural perspectives, as well as developing transnational angles.

In the last years of the dictatorship, Gabriel Salázar reminded academics that history was not the mere reconstruction of the past, but a way to use that past to create a more equal, just, and democratic society. Today in Chile, many workers still face precarious working conditions, long working hours, and enormous legal obstacles to organize and bargain collectively. Many more live and work in unhealthy and polluted environments. Although Chile continues to be a model of economic growth and political stability in Latin America, workers’ stories continue to challenge that image. In the documentary An nou pal, Haitian immigrants in Chile remind us of the contradictions of neoliberalism and the legacies of authoritarianism: working more than twelve hours a day including Saturday, living in crowded and unsanitary conditions, and having little money or time for family, recreation, or consumption.Footnote 90


1. The most comprehensive overview of Chilean labor historiography is Flores, Jorge Rojas, “Los trabajadores en la historiografía chilena: balances y proyecciones,” Revista de Economía y Trabajo (PET) 10 (2000): 47117.

2. The “classic” Chilean Marxist labor historians are Julio César Jobet, Hernán Ramírez Necochea, Marcelo Segall, Jorge Barría, and Luis Vitale.

3. Tinsman, Heidi, “A Paradigm of Our Own: Joan Scott in Latin American History,” American Historical Review 113:5 (2008): 1357–74.

4. Vallejos, Julio Pinto, “Cien años de propuestas y combates. La historiografía chilena durante el siglo XX,” in Cien años de propuestas y combates. La historiografía chilena durante el siglo XX, eds. Vallejos, Julio Pinto and Argudín, María Luna (Mexico: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2006), 83.

5. On the impact of the dictatorship on the University of Chile, Chile's largest and most emblematic public university, see: Acuña, María Elena and Montecinos, Sonia, eds., Huellas de un acecho (Santiago: Ediciones de la Universidad de Chile, 2013).

6. Some of the most influential NGOs and research centers in Chile that sponsored historical research during the dictatorship were: Corporación de Estudios para Latinoamérica (CIEPLAN, founded in 1976), Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), and SUR (formed in 1978).

7. In recent studies, historians have demonstrated the importance of the international solidarity movement in supporting both Chileans in exile and social organizations in Chile. See: Saavedra, Manuel Bastías, Sociedad civil en dictadura: relaciones transnacionales, organizaciones y socialización política en Chile (Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado, 2013); Camacho, Fernando, Una vida para Chile: La solidaridad y la comunidad chilena en Suecia 1970–2000 (Santiago: LOM, 2011); Christiaens, Kim, Goddeeris, Idesbald, and García, Magaly Rodríguez, eds., European Solidarity with Chile. 1970s–1980s (Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Oxford, Warsaw, Wien: Peter Lang, 2013).

8. I have discussed some of these reactions in a previous article, Vergara, Ángela, “El reportaje a Chile,” in Rolle, Claudio et al. , 1973: La vida cotidiana de un año crucial (Santiago: Planeta, 2003). For a personal account on the impact of the coup on foreign visitors, see Cooper, Marc, Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir (New York: Verso, 2002).

9. Jones, Ann, No Trucks with the Chilean Junta (Canberra: Australian University Press, 2014), 5.

10. Green, James, We Cannot Remain Silent: Opposition to the Brazilian Military Dictatorship in the United States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).

11. Tanya Harmer looks at the debates that took place among the Chilean left in Cuba, The View from Havana: Chilean Exiles in Cuba and Early Resistance to Chile's Dictatorship, 1973–1977,” Hispanic American Historical Review 96:1 (2016): 109–46.”

12. Gabriel Salazar, “Historiografía y dictadura en Chile (1973–1990): búsqueda, identidad y dispersion,” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos August–September (1990): 81–94. See also Pinto, “Cien años de propuestas y combates.”

13. Gabriel Salazar, La historia desde abajo y desde dentro (Santiago: Departamento de Teoría de las Artes, Facultad de Arte, Universidad de Chile, n.d.), 48. For an overview of the international debate, see Anderson, Perry, In the Tracks of Historical Materialism (London: Verso, 1983) and Thompson, E. P., The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (London: The Merlin Press, 1978).

14. On the Chicago Boys see Valdés, Juan Gabriel, Pinochet's Economists: The Chicago School in Chile (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) and Silva, Patricio, In the Name of Reason: Technocrats and Politics in Chile (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008). Former minister of Pinochet and the mastermind behind the labor and social security reforms, José Piñera Echeñique, summarized his ideas about labor reform in La revolución laboral en Chile (Santiago: Zig-Zag, 1990).

15. Lavín, Joaquín, Chile, la revolución silenciosa (Santiago: Zig-Zag, 1987); Tironi, Eugenio, Chile, los silencios de la revolución (Santiago: Editorial La Puerta Abierta, 1988).

16. On the impact of exile: Angell, Alan and Carstairs, Susan, “The Exile Question in Chilean Politics,” Third World Quarterly 9:1 (1987): 148–67.

17. For an overview of the history of the Nueva Historia: Miguel Antonio Fuentes Muñoz, “Gabriel Salazar y la “nueva historia” elementos para una polémica desde el marxismo clásico (Exposición y Debate)” (BA thesis, Universidad de Chile, 2007).

18. Gabriel Salazar is one of the most influential and emblematic historians of the first generation of Nueva Historia. A professor at the University of Chile at the time of the military coup, he was fired, detained, tortured, and exiled. In the United Kingdom, he obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Hull in 1984, and his dissertation, “Entrepreneurs and Peons in the Transition to Industrial Capitalism, Chile 1820–1878,” was influenced by British new labor history represented by E.P. Thompson and Eric Hobsbawm. He returned to Chile in 1985 and joined the NGO SUR. In 1992, he was reinstated as a professor at the Universidad de Chile, and he received the National History Award (the country's most important recognition for historians) in 2006.

19. Salazar, Gabriel, El poder nuestro de cada día: pobladores. Historia. Acción Popular Constituyente (Santiago: LOM, 2017).

20. For an overview of this debate, see Grez, Sergio, “Escribir la historia de los sectores populares ¿con o sin política incluida? A propósito de dos miradas a la historia social (Chile, siglo XIX),” Política 44 (2005): 1731.

21. Among Sergio Grez's most important books are: De la “regeneración del pueblo” a la huelga general. Génesis y evolución histórica del movimiento popular en Chile (1810–1910) (Santiago: Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana, 1998) and Los anarquistas y el movimiento obrero. La alborada de “la Idea” en Chile, 1893–1915 (Santiago, LOM Ediciones, 2007). In an edited collection of documents, Grez demonstrates the longer history of the social question and the influence of labor organizations on the debate, Grez, La ‘cuestión social’ en Chile. Ideas y debates precursores (Santiago: Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos, Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana, 1997).

22. Some of the most influential historians working on labor and social topics at the time were: José Bengoa, Eduardo Devés, Mario Garcés, Sergio González, María Angélica Illanes, Luis Ortega, and the Argentine historian Luis Alberto Romero.

23. Benavides, Leopoldo, “Historia oral: problemas y perspectivas,” Documento de trabajo (Flacso-Chile) 220 (1983). He published a revised version of this document a few years later, La historia oral en Chile,” Material de discusión (Flacso-Chile) 107 (1987).

24. Garcés, Mario, “ECO, las ONGs y la lucha contra la dictadura militar en Chile. Entre lo académico y lo militante,” Revista Izquierdas 3:7 (2010): 18.

25. Green, James, Taking History to Heart: The Power of the Past in Building Social Movements (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000).

26. See for example ECO, FOCH, CTCH, CUT: Las centrales unitarias en la historia del sindicalismo chileno (Santiago: ECO, 1988).

27. In 1989, Emilia Viotti Da Costa, Barbara Weinstein, Perry Anderson, Hobart A. Spalding, and June Nash debated the past and future of Latin American Labor History in a special issue of International Labor and Working-Class History, 36 (1989).

28. Loveman, Brian, Struggle in the Countryside: Politics and Rural Labor in Chile, 1919–1973 (Bloomington, IN, and London: Indiana University Press, 1976).

29. DeShazo, Peter, “The Valparaíso Maritime Strike of 1903 and the Development of a Revolutionary Labor Movement in Chile,” Journal of Latin American Studies 2:1 (1979): 145–68 and Urban Workers and Labor Unions in Chile, 1902–1927 (Madison, WI: Wisconsin University Press, 1983); Winn, Peter, Weavers of Revolution: The Yarur Workers and Chile's Road to Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). Winn's Weavers of Revolution was translated into a Spanish edition in 2004, and a Spanish edition of DeShazo's book was published in 2007.

30. Winn, Peter, “Oral History and the Factory Study: New Approaches to Labor History,” Latin American Research Review 14:2 (1979): 130–40 and El Taylorismo: la gran huelga de Yarur, 1962,” Proposiciones 19 (1990): 202–23.

31. Salazar, Gabriel, Editorial, Proposiciones 19 (1990): 716.

32. See for example Vallejos, Julio Pinto, Trabajos y rebeldías en la pampa salitrera. El ciclo del salitre y la reconfiguración de las identidades populares (1850–1900) (Santiago: Editorial Universidad de Santiago, 1998). His publications are numerous, as are the themes that he has researched and published. Pinto received the National History Award in 2016.

33. See for example the academic production of Jorge Rojas Flores and Juan Carlos Yáñez.

34. Some of the labor histories published in English since the 1990s are: Hutchinson, Elizabeth Q., Labors Appropriate to their Sex. Gender, Labor and Politics in Urban Chile, 1900–1930 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001); Klubock, Thomas, Contested Communities: Class, Gender, and Politics in Chile's El Teniente Copper Mines, 1904–1951 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998); Pavilack, Jody, Mining for the Nation: The Politics of Chile's Coal Communities from the Popular Front to the Cold War (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011); Silva, J. Pablo, “The Origins of White-Collar Privilege in Chile; Arturo Alessandri, Law 6020 and the Pursuit of a Corporatist Consensus, 1933–1938,” Labor: Studies in the Working Class History of the Americas 3:1 (2006): 87112; Tinsman, Heidi, Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014); and Vergara, Ángela, Copper Workers, International Business, and Domestic Politics in Cold-War Chile (College Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008). More recent work on working-class culture includes: Elsey, Brenda, Citizens and Sportsmen: Fútbol and Politics in 20th century Chile (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2011) and The Independent Republic of Football: The Politics of Neighborhood Clubs in Santiago, Chile, 1948–1960,” Journal of Social History 42:3 (2009): 605–30.”

35. Gaudichaud, Franck, Poder popular y cordones industriales. Testimonios sobre el movimiento popular urbano, 1970–73 (Santiago: LOM, 2004). In a similar line of analysis, it is also noteworthy the research of Brazilian scholar Márcia Carolina de Oliveira Cury, “O protagonismo popular: experiências de classe e movimentos sociais na construcao do socialismo chileno (1964–1973)” (Ph.D. diss., Campinas, Brazil, 2013) and also Soto, Sandra Castillo, Cordones industriales: nuevas formas de sociabilidad obrera y organización política popular (Chile, 1970–1973) (Concepción: Escaparate, 2009).

36. The most groundbreaking work on dictatorship has been in the areas of collective memory, human rights, and gender. The most influential work on the Pinochet dictatorship and memory remains Steve Stern's trilogy, The Memory Box of Pinochet's Chile, 3 vols. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004–2010).

37. Throughout the 1960s, scholars from Latin America, the United States, and Europe visited, worked, and conducted research in Chilean universities. For example, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University had a special collaboration agreement with the University of Chile's Institute for Industrial Relations (INSORA). Some of these collaborations were reflected in the publication of collaborative studies. For example: Morris, James and Oyaneda, Roberto, Afiliación y finanzas sindicales en Chile, 1932–1959 (Santiago: INSORA, 1962) and Torcuato Di Tella, Lucien Brams, Jean-Daniel Reynaud, and Touraine, Alain, Sindicato y comunidad: dos tipos de estructura sindical latinoamericana (Buenos Aires: Editorial del Instituto, 1967).

38. Historian Jorge Barría was notable for looking at labor unions and confederations throughout the twentieth century, although to some his approach, based on the readings of official documents, was too institutional and top down. See for example: Barría, Jorge, Los sindicatos de la Gran Minería del Cobre (Santiago: INSORA, 1970); El movimiento obrero en Chile (Santiago: Universidad Técnica del Estado, 1971); and Historia de la CUT (Santiago: Ediciones Pla, 1971).

39. Francisco Zapata received his Ph.D. in Sociology in June 1970. He worked under the guidance of Alain Touraine at the École des Hautes Etudes in Paris. See: Contreras, Oscar F., “Una ruta hacia la sociología del trabajo. Entrevista con Francisco Zapata,” Frontera Norte 6:12 (1994): 131–49. See also, Zapata, Francisco, Hacia una sociología latinoamericana del trabajo (Mérida: Ediciones de la Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, 2010).

40. See the many publications of Jacques Chonchol and Solon Barraclaogh among others and the studies published by ICIRA (Instituto de Capacitación e Investigación Para la Reforma Agraria).

41. In the 1960s–1970s, historians also started looking at the countryside, but focusing mostly on the colonial and the nineteenth century. See for example, Bauer, Arnold, Chilean Rural Society: From the Spanish Conquest to the 1930 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1975) and Góngora, Mario, Origen de los inquilinos de Chile Central (Santiago: Universidad de Chile, 1960).

42. Bengoa, José, “25 años de estudios rurales,” Sociologias (Porto Alegre) 5:10 (2003): 3698.

43. In the 1980s, work surveys (encuestas de empleo) illustrated the dramatic change in the labor market and the process of de-industrialization. See, for example, the work of Javier Martínez and Eugenio Tironi on economic modernization and the many publications of PREALC (Programa Regional del Empleo en América Latina y el Caribe) and PET (Programa de Economía del Trabajo).

44. The list of authors is long, but some of the most emblematic and influential labor sociologists writing in and about the 1980s are: Manuel Barrera, Guillermo Campero, Gonzalo de la Maza, Gonzalo Falabella, Patricio Frías, Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, José Antonio Valenzuela, J. Samuel Valenzuela, and Francisco Zapata. The most important Chilean authors writing about the transformation of the countryside are José Bengoa, Jorge Echeñique, and Sergio Gómez.

45. Sergio Gómez, “La organización campesina en Chile. Trayectoria y perspectivas,” Documento de trabajo CED (1986, 1987); Campos, Luis Enrique Salinas, “Trayectoria de la organización sindical campesina,” Documento de Trabajo AGRA 1 (1985).

46. Some of the papers were published in the Boletín de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe 31 (1981).

47. See, for example: Barrera, Manuel and Falabella, Gonzalo, Sindicatos bajo regímenes militares: Argentina, Brasil, Chile (Santiago, CES, 1989); J. Samuel Valenzuela and Jeffrey Goodwin, “Labor Movements under Authoritarian Regimes,” a colloquium report published as a Harvard University Center for European Studies Monograph on Europe, # 6, 1983.

48. Drake, Paul, Labor Movements and Dictatorships: The Southern Cone in Comparative Perspective (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996) and El movimiento obrero en Chile: de la Unidad Popular a La Concertación,” Revista de Ciencia Política 23 (2003): 148–58.

49. Two recent theses from the University of Chile have looked at the topic from a comparative angle, see: Emilia Gambardella, “Trabajando por la libertad y la democracia: el movimiento sindical y las dictaduras: Chile (1973–1988) y Bolivia (1964–1982)” (Universidad de Chile, Departamento de Ciencias Histórias, 2010) and Ana López Dietz, “Desarticulación y resistencia: movimiento obrero y sindicalismo en dictadura: Chile y Argentina, 1973–1983.” (Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Magister en Estudios Latinoamericanos, 2013.). See also, de Giorgi, Álvaro and Dominzain, Susana. Respuestas sindicales en Chile y Uruguay bajo las dictaduras y en los inicios de la democratización (Montevideo: Universidad de la República, 2000).

50. Angell, Alan, “Union and Workers in Chile During the 1980s,” in The Struggle for Democracy in Chile, 1982–1990, Drake, Paul W. and Jaksić, Iván, eds. (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1991) and Politics and the Labour Movement in Chile (London: Oxford University Press, 1972).

51. Most of these studies provided a general view of the labor movement and working conditions. One of the exception is Francisco Zapata, who demonstrated how economic restructuring transformed and eroded the traditional source of power of copper labor unions. Zapata, Francisco, “Las relaciones entre la junta militar y los trabajadores chilenos, 1973–1978,” Foro Internacional 20:2 (1979): 191219.

52. Frank, Volker, “The Elusive Goal in Democratic Chile: Reforming the Pinochet Labor Legislation,” Latin American Politics and Society 44:1 (2002): 3568 and Politics Without Policy: The Failure of Social Concertation in Democratic Chile, 1990–2000,” in Victims of the Chilean Miracle: Workers and Neoliberalism in the Pinochet Era, 1973–2002, ed. Winn, Peter (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 71124.

53. Kay, Cristóbal, “Algunas reflexiones sobre los etudios Rurales en América Latina,” Íconos 29 (2007): 3150.

54. This a long and rich scholarship. A good place to start are the many publications of José Bengoa.

55. For a discussion of the importance of communities in labor history see Fontes, Paulo, Migration and the Making of Industrial Sao Paulo (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016).

56. An interesting contribution to the study of working-class communities is Brenda Elsey's research on soccer clubs. See: Elsey, Citizens and Sportsmen: Fútbol and Politics in Twentieth-Century Chile and The Independent Republic of Football: The Politics of Neighborhood Clubs in Santiago, Chile, 1948–1960,” Journal of Social History 42:3 (2009): 605–30.”

57. In the midst of Chile 1960s housing crisis and growing urban movement, urban studies became an important field. One influential figure was Spanish Sociologist Manuel Castell, who taught at FLACSO-Chile between 1966–68. Since 1970, the academic journal EURE (Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Urbanos Regionales), published by the School of Urban Studies at the Catholic University in Santiago, has reflected the main debates in the field.

58. See for example, Espinoza, Vicente, Para una historia de los pobres de la ciudad (Santiago: Ediciones Sur, 1988).

59. Touraine, Alain, “Introducción al método de la intervención sociológica,” Estudios Sociológicos (Mexico) IV 11 (1986): 197213.

60. Dubet, François, Tironi, Eugenio, Valenzuela, Vicente, and Valenzuela, Eduardo, Pobladores. Luttes sociales et démocratie au Chili (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1989); Espinoza, Vicente, “Historia social de la acción colectiva urbana: los pobladores de Santiago, 1957–1987,” Revista EURE—Revista de Estudios Urbanos Regionales 24:72 (1998): 7184.

61. Garcés, Mario, Tomando su sitio: El movimiento de pobladores de Santiago, 1957–1970 (Santiago: LOM, 2002).

62. Garcés, Mario and Leiva, Sebastián, El golpe en La Legua (Santiago: LOM, 2012).

63. Schneider, Cathy L., Shantytown Protest in Pinochet's Chile (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1995), Oxhorn, Philip, Organizing Civil Society: The Popular Sectors and the Struggle for Democracy in Chile (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995).

64. Bruey, Alison J., Bread, Justice, and Liberty: Grassroots Activism and Human Rights in Pinochet's Chile (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, forthcoming 2018). See also: Cofré, Boris, Campamento Nueva La Habana: El MIR y el Movimiento de Pobladores, 1970–1973 (Concepción: Ed. Escaparate, 2007) and “El sueño de la casa propia”. Estado, empresarios y trabajadores ante el problema de la vivienda y urbanización residencial. Santiago de Chile, c.1952–1973” (Ph.D. diss., Universidad Catolica, 2016).

65. Murphy, Edward, For a Proper Home: Housing Rights in the Margins of Urban Chile, 1960–2010 (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015).

66. Joel Stillerman's publications are numerous. See: “From solidarity to survival: Transformations in the culture and styles of mobilization of Chilean metalworkers under democratic and authoritarian regimes, 1945–1995,” (Ph.D. diss., New School, 1998); Continuidades, rupturas y coyunturas en la transformación de los obreros de MADECO, S.A., 1973–2003,” Revista Política 44 (2005): 165–96; “Disciplined Workers and Avid Consumers: Neoliberal Policy and the Transformation of Work and Identity among Chilean Metalworkers,” in Victims of the Chilean Miracle, 164–208.

67. One welcomed contribution to decenter Chilean urban social history is Brito, Alejandra and Ganter, Rodrigo, “Ciudad Obrera: persistencias y variaciones en las significaciones del espacio. El caso de la siderúrgica Huachipato y su influencia en el desarrollo urbano del Gran Concepción,” EURE 40:121 (2014): 2953. Marian Schlotterbeck's forthcoming book also looks at working-class communities and the influence of the MIR in the Greater Concepción. Beyond the Vanguard: Everyday Revolutionaries in Allende's Chile (University of California Press: LA & Berkeley, CA, forthcoming).

68. Especially noteworthy was the influence of Chilean sociologist and feminist scholar Julieta Kristeva (1936–1985). One of her most important works is Ser política en Chile (Santiago: FLACSO, 1982); see also Tejiendo rebeldías: escritos feministas de Julieta Kirkwood (Santiago: CEM, 1987).

69. Teresa Valdés, “Las mujeres y la dictadura militar en Chile,” Documento de Trabajo (FLACSO), 1987. See also, Valenzuela, Maria Elena, “The Evolving Roles of Women under Military Rule,” in The Struggle for Democracy in Chile, eds. Drake, Paul and Jaksić, Iván (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 161–87; and Todas ibamos a ser reinas: la mujer en el Chile militar (Santiago: CESOC, 1987).

70. Valdés, Ximena et al. , Historias testimoniales de mujeres del campo (Santiago: CEM, 1983).

71. See, for example, Mundo de mujer: continuidad y cambio (Santiago: CEM, 1988).

72. y Paulina Saball, Andrea Rodó, “Mujer popular, familia y cesantía”, Proposiciones 9 (1983): 3954; Raczynski, Dagmar and Serrano, Claudia, “La cesantía: impacto sobre la mujer y la familia popular,” Colección Estudios CIEPLAN 14 (1984): 6197.

73. Recent studies have explored the impact of state ideas of gender and family: Thomas, Gwynn, Contesting Legitimacy in Chile: Familial Ideas, Citizenship, and Political Struggle, 1970–1990 (College Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2012) and Mooney, Jadwiga E. Pieper, The Politics of Motherhood: Maternity and Women's Rights in Twentieth-Century Chile (Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh University Press, 2009). For a long-term historical overview of these issues see Rosemblatt, Karin, Gendered Compromises: Political Cultures and the State in Chile, 1920–1950 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000).

74. Valdés, Teresa and Weirstein, Marisa, Mujeres que sueñan: la organización de pobladores en Chile, 1973–1989 (Santiago: FLACSO, 1993). See Teresa Valdés's previous book, Venid, benditas de mi Padre: Las pobladoras, sus rutinas y sus sueños (Santiago: FLACSO, 1988).

75. Adams, Jacqueline, Surviving Dictatorship: A Work of Visual Sociology (New York and London: Routledge, 2012); Barbera, Rosemary, “Community Remembering: Fear and Memory in a Chilean Shantytown,” Latin American Perspectives 36:5 (2009): 7288; Dandavati, Annie, Engendering Democracy in Chile (New York: Peter Lang, 2005).

76. Klubock, Thomas M., “Writing the History of Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Chile,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 81:3–4 (2001): 493518.”

77. Godoy, Lorena et al. , Disciplina y desacato. Construcción de identidad en Chile, siglos XIX y XX (Santiago: SUR/CEDEM, 1995).

78. Zárate, María Soledad and Godoy, Lorena, Análisis crítico de los estudios históricos del trabajo femenino en Chile (Santiago: CEM, 2005).

79. Tinsman, Heidi, “Politics of Gender and Consumption in Authoritarian Chile, 1973–1990: Women Agricultural Workers in the Fruit-Export Industry,” Latin American Research Review 41, no. 3 (2006): 731 and “More Than Victims: Women Agricultural Workers and Social Change in Rural Chile,” in Victims of the Chilean Miracle, 261–97.

80. Ximena Valdés Subercaseaux, has published on this topic since the mid 1980s. See for example: Femenización del mercado agrícola: las temporeras” in Mundo de mujer: cambio y continuidad (Santiago: CEM, 1991), 388430; Modernización, democratización y derechos ciudadanos: una mirada a la vida privada de los temporeros de la fruta” en Escrituras de la diferencia sexual, ed. Olea, Raquel (Santiago: LOM/La Morada, 2000), 109–31.

81. Recent research on street vendors, the informal economy, and contract workers also illustrate these issues. See, for example: Rodrigo Assef Saavedra, “Los trabajadores informales urbanos en Chile neoliberal: El caso de los trabajadores ambulantes en Santiago 1978–2004,” (BA thesis, Universidad de Chile, 2005); Olga Cárcamo Soto, “Historias de vida, trabajo, lucha y esfuerzo: Las trabajadoras del sector vestuario en Santiago, 1970–2000” (BA thesis, Universidad de Chile, 2005). For a broader perspective on labor resistance see Melissa Mann, “The History of Labor Resistance in Chile, 1973–1989,” (MA thesis, University of New Mexico, 2001).

82. In addition to the article included in Victims of the Chilean Miracle, see: Klubock, Thomas M., “Copper Workers, Organized Labor, and Popular Protest under Military Rule in Chile, 1973–1986,” International Labor and Working-Class History 52 (1997): 106–33, and see note 67 for Joel Stillerman's publications.”

83. Klubock, Thomas, La Frontera: Forests and Ecological Conflict in Chile's Frontier Territory (Durham, NC: Duke University Press: 2015). See also, Andrew Gergart, “An Environmental and Social History of the Chilean Salmon Farming Industry, 1976–2009” (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 2014).

84. Gómez, Rodrigo Araya, “Cambios y continuidades en el movimiento sindical chileno en los años 80. El caso del Comando Nacional de Trabajadores,” Historia 1 (2014): 1137; Movimiento sindical en dictadura: Fuentes para una historia del sindicalismo en Chile, 1973–1990 (Santiago: Universidad Alberto Hurtado, 2015); and Organizaciones sindicales en Chile. De la resistencia a la política de los consensos: 1983–1994 (Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Finis Terrae, 2015). For the early period of the dictatorship, see: Vallejos, Rolando Álvarez, “¿Represión o integración? La política sindical del régimen militar: 1973–1980,” Historia (Santiago) 2 (2010): 325–55.

85. Winn, Peter, “Global Labor History: The Future of the Field?,” International Labor and Working-Class History 82 (2012): 8591.

86. Jones, No Trucks.

87. Tinsman, Heidi, Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Consumption in Cold War Chile and the United States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014).

88. Some of the most important recompilation of documents are: Gómez, Rodrigo Araya, Movimiento sindical en dictadura: Fuentes para una historia del sindicalismo en Chile, 1973–1990 (Santiago: Universidad Alberto Hurtado, 2014) and Lira, Elizabeth and Rojas, Hugo, Libertad sindical y derechos humanos: análisis de los informes del Comité de Libertad Sindical de la O.I.T., 1973–1990 (Santiago: LOM, Univ. Alberto Hurtado, Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana, Dirección Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos, 2009).

89. See, for example: Aguilera, José Manuel Bravo, De Carranco a Carrán (Santiago: LOM, 2012); Baltra, Mireya, Mireya Baltra: del kiosko al Ministerio del Trabajo (Santiago, LOM: 2014); Bascuñán, Fernando Echeverría and Hernández, Jorge Rojas, Añoranzas, sueños, realidades: Dirigentes sindicales hablan de la transición (Santiago de Chile: Ediciones SUR, 1992); Echeverría, Mónica, Anti-Historia de un luchador Clotario Blest (Santiago: LOM, 2013).

90. See the video “An nou pal” (conversemos)