Chile’s Estallido Social and the Art of Protest


  • Terri Gordon-Zolov The New School, NYC (USA)



Baquedano statue, Chile, constitution, estallido social, Indigenous rights


Chile’s 2019–2020 social uprising, known as the estallido social or “social explosion,” brought about radical changes in the socio-political landscape of the country. A minor subway fare hike of 30 pesos soon escalated into a major revolution, whose motto, “It’s Not 30 Pesos, It’s 30 Years,” expressed pent-up discontent with the 30-year legacy of the brutal 17-year regime of Augusto Pinochet. Through massive mobilizations and artistic interventions, Chileans demonstrated against social and economic inequities born from the neoliberal model of the dictatorship, judicial impunity, and a lack of rights and protections for women, Indigenous peoples, and minority groups. In Santiago, youth occupied the site of Plaza Italia, “Ground Zero” of the protests, and the equestrian statue of war hero General Baquedano became a symbolic figure for the struggle for the city. This article focuses on the Chilean “art of protest,” considering how Chileans drew on a vanguardist artistic ethos to enable a reformulation of the public sphere and a collective, new political paradigm.


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How to Cite

Gordon-Zolov, T. (2023). Chile’s Estallido Social and the Art of Protest. Sociologica, 17(1), 41–55.



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