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Accepted Paper:

Inhabiting two places at the same time: being a new townhouse owner in Chiloé, Chile  

Author:

Giovanna Bacchiddu (Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Chile)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the implications of a project of urbanization of a group of indigenous families. In order to benefit from a state subsidy, they organise their lives around two locations, strategically travelling back and forth to tend to their fields without losing the rights to a new townhouse

Paper long abstract:

This paper considers the implications of a case of urbanization of 150 indigenous families from insular Chiloé that were offered to be part of a subsidized housing project. Those who applied were given a small house in a high-density town settlement, in exchange for a small amount of money and the commitment to live in the house for 5 years, without renting it out or selling it. The new house owners are forced to live in a minute dwelling, with no front or back garden, with no space or permission to raise domestic animals, and in close proximity with neighbours. This contrasts dramatically with their traditional way of living, the wide spaces surrounding their rural homes, their practical use of the landscape, the crucial distance between neighbours, the availability of their cultivated gardens and firewood. The new house owners however argue they enjoy their new life, to which they adapted thanks to the recently enhanced transportation technology: due to the frequency of boats with powerful engines, partially funded by the state, they organize their livelihood around transportation. Being able to travel regularly, they keep their cultivated fields and traditional homes on the island, and move back-and-forth constantly, bringing firewood and produce to the town. Thanks to the technology of transportation - unthinkable only 10 years ago - they simultaneously inhabit two places, dramatically stretching their lifestyle, social principles, and cosmology. This strategic mobility however enables their social project to become more like middle-class citizens while keeping their indigenous resources active.

Panel P063
Everyday mobilities and circulation of people, things and ideas: Expanding the concept of technology from what makes us mobile [ANTHROMOB]