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Title: Consensus or Conflict over Ethnoracial Categories? Classificatory Systems in Chile and Bolivia.
Authors: Unzueta, María Belén
Advisors: Centeno, Miguel A
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Classificatory systems
Ethnoracial categories
Indigenous people
Latin America
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Principles of social classification are transformed in social boundaries when used for the purposes of interaction (Barth 1969). When they are applied for organizational purposes, however, they can produce what Charles Tilly (1998) described as durable inequality. Ac- cording to Lamont and Molnár (2002), this only happens if these principles (or symbolic boundaries) are widely agreed upon. Thus, the level of agreement or consensus over these classifications is a crucial dimension to consider in the study of inequality. In this dis- sertation, I study ethnoracial categories as classificatory schemes to examine the level of consensus over their meaning. I do this in two complementary ways. First, I analyze the case of the categories Mapuche in Chile and Indígena in Bolivia using two factorial survey experiments. In both cases, respondents categorized hypothetical people in terms of their ethnoracial identity. The results of these studies suggest that there is little consensus over the meaning of these categories. In both countries it is possible to identify more than one set of criteria that leads to membership in the category in question. Based on these findings, I argue that defining culture as shared meaning is misleading. Meaning, in the sense of prop- erties associated with categorical membership, is better described as being distributed in a population. Second, I analyze the historical origins and evolution of the category Mapuche in Chile. This study describes how, given a process of land commodification, the rooting of the Mapuche in lands registered by the state became an act of constitution that at the same time came to define what it meant to be Mapuche and can be conceptualized as the root cause of their unequal position in society. Thus, from a historical perspective, meaning and inequality are mutually constitutive. The dissertation ends with some concluding remarks about the role of consensus in the making of categorical inequality.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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