Cultures of Movement: Mobile Subjects, Communities, and Technologies in the Americas
Pan-American Mobilities Network Conference edition:1 location:Royal Roads University Victoria, Canada date:8-10 April 2010
Chile’s geographical remoteness – a long and narrow coastal strip between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the Atacama Desert and the icebergs of Patagonia – has largely defined the imaginaries people share about this Latin American country. Despite its historical image as finis terrae (the end of the world), many migrants found their way to these isolated peripheral lands (often as the last of imagined places), turning Chile into a mestizo society. Thanks to new means of transport and communication, Chile nowadays is as exposed to the global circulation of people, objects and ideas as the rest of the world. Based on recent ethnographic fieldwork, this paper traces how old imaginaries about Chile as an inaccessible island influence how contemporary Chileans participate in and frame their perceived exclusion from a plethora of new mobilities, regardless of whether they have the actual means and freedom to cross (imaginary and real) boundaries.