Inégalité Subjective Au Chili. Représentation Des Différences Sociales (in)Justes à Travers Le Temps


This thesis examines subjective inequality in Chile over time. With the return of democracy (1990), the country experienced a sustained economic growth which allowed it to reduce poverty levels and increase education rates. At the same time, together with the development of a series of social policies, since 2000 the economic concentration of the country, historically ranked among the highest in the world, has begun to diminish. However, as wellbeing levels increased and inequalities diminished, a series of social demonstrations began to take place, among them those led by the student movement in 2006 and 2011, considered the largest that the country has experienced since the end of the dictatorship. This diagnosis grouped by all these demonstrations pointed to the problem of social inequalities as a brake on the country’s’ development. The high citizen support of these demonstrations had an impact on the con- figuration of political agendas of all sectors, and led public debate to focus on the question of whether the principles of justice, where Chilean society had sustained its social pact after the dictatorship, had changed. Were trans- formations in wellbeing conditions linked to a criticism of the market logic that had legitimized high inequalities since the period of neoliberal reforms promoted in the 1980s? The thesis answers this question from the perspective of individuals, asking how stable or fluid representations of inequality, as well as its determinants, are over time. From the analysis of a set of quantitative data (surveys ISSP 1999, ISSP 2009, SJCP 2013 and COES 2014) and qualitative data (40 semi- directed interviews), it is established that representations of inequality can be apprehended through three dimensions - perceptions, beliefs and preferences - which are influenced by factors that operate at two levels: the social position and the personal experience of individuals. The results of the study show that representations changed over time, but with varying intensity depending on the dimension analyzed. And by consid- ering the determinants, on the one hand, results show that the social position of individuals, especially with regards to educational level, is a strong pre- dictor of representations of inequality. Following the transformations in the social structure of Chile, individuals of lower social status present more sig- nificant changes in the representations of inequality. On the other hand, in terms of personal experience, it is observed that changes in the sociopolit- ical context strongly influence representations, as well as the evaluation of structural transformations on individuals’ lives. Regardless of social status, individuals’ assessments of inequality are strongly anchored in comparing different moments of their own biographies, even stronger than when they represent inequality through a comparison with other people or social groups. Keywords. Subjective inequality, social representations, social justice, Chile