THE RIGHT TO A LIFE WITH DIGNITY: HOUSING STRUGGLES AND EVERYDAY LIFE IN SANTIAGO, CHILE
EL DERECHO A LA VIDA DIGNA: LUCHAS POR LA VIVIENDA Y VIDA COTIDIANA EN SANTIAGO DE CHILE
Contemporary anthropological reflections on the ethical dimensions of everyday life have been increasingly interested in examining moral categories such as “dignity”. In this context, a large part of these works has been concerned with the study of how excluded populations, through their ordinary practices predominantly in the intimate and private spheres, seek to attain a life with dignity. This article, in contrast, ethnographically analyzes how the pursuit of dignity, in addition to taking the form of social practices performed in the private space, also results in emerging forms of collective action. To do so, I examine the urban struggles carried out in Santiago, Chile, mostly by female urban dwellers in need of housing enrolled in housing committees (comités de allegados), i.e., state-regulated social organizations through which they seek to become homeowners. By specifically exploring the right to a life with dignity demanded by these urban dwellers, I hold that such a claim allows us to understand the ways in which the urban poor make sense of their everyday conditions of exclusion while, at the same time, reformulate the strategic demands of their mobilizations.