PhD Student Rodrigo Mayorga-Camus Discusses His 2014 Summer Fieldwork in Chile

For my summer fieldwork I went to Santiago, Chile and studied two high schools there. One of them was a public, non-confessional high school serving working and middle class students and theIN 2014-06-18 other was a private, catholic high school serving upper class students. Following a group of students in each of these schools, I intended to understand how Chilean high school students appropriate and resignify (if they do) the school’s attempts to politically socialize them, focusing on how their political actions and political identities are defined, performed and negotiated in these settings.

I conducted participant observations in both schools, following the students in their History, Language, Religion and Class Council classes. I also followed them during their breaks and other instances, such as school’s ceremonies or social work activities. During the time of my fieldwork, the country was experiencing a series of students’ protests and this was the context my participants were part of. At least one of the schools in my study was occupied by its own students for several weeks, allowing me to observe them in a totally re-configured setting. All of this helped me to think about the practices in which they engaged and the particular ways in which they, in dialogue and debate with other actors, were ‘becoming political beings’.

*Rodrigo Mayorga is a second-year doctoral student in Anthropology and Education.