The Impact of Water Privatisation on the Indigenous Mapuche in the South of Chile. A Qualitative Content Analysis from a Human Rights Perspective

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: This study aimed to investigate the impacts of water privatisation on Mapuche communities in the South of Chile. The effects and the resulting demands and actions were examined from a human rights perspective. Guided by the research questions, this study explored the Chilean system of privatised water usage and supply and the neo-liberal economic approach of the country. The study employed Harvey’s approach of accumulation by dispossession in combination with other theoretical concepts, namely the concept of resistance and social movement and the concept of empowerment. Journal articles that focussed on the issues were studied, applying thematic content analysis. It was concluded that the privatisation of water and the effects are of high complexity and cannot be separated from the privatisation of land and territory. Among others, loss of water and land rights, legal discrimination, displacement, marginalisation and poverty, loss of cultural identity and collectiveness, and destruction of their natural environment were significant impacts on the Mapuche. The demands of the Mapuche mirror the effects, requesting self-determination, participation and cultural recognition whilst engaging in social movements and activism.

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