History and Anthropology vol:24 issue:2 pages:233-252
Chile’s geographical remoteness has largely defined the imaginaries people share about this Latin American country. Despite its historical image as finis terrae (‘the end of the world’), migrants from all corners found their way to these isolated peripheral lands. 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 a combination of archival research and ethnographic fieldwork, this article traces how old (and originally foreign) imaginaries about Chile as an inaccessible island keep on influencing how contemporary Chileans participate in and frame their perceived exclusion from a plethora of new transnational mobilities, regardless of whether they have the means and freedom to cross imaginary boundaries and real borders or not. Although increasingly under outside pressure, the value of immobility remains at the core of the Chilean social imaginary, geo-politics and cultural life.