Law and territory

This line of research seeks to study the life of law and the state across urban territories.

It seeks to study the way in which citizens understand, perceive and relate to institutions in a heterogeneous space.

In addition, it seeks to understand how these institutions are reproduced locally, and what link may exist between them and the law.

The Peñalolén project

The Peñalolén project seeks to explore this line of research by investigating in depth citizens understanding of law and institutions in the municipality of Peñalolén. 

The researchers in this project are Mayra Feddersen, Javier Wilenmann, Julia Cavieres y Maite Gambardella.

The following questions guide the research. We follow a qualitative research design strategy:

    • How is the law reproduced at the local level?
    • How do Chilean citizens relate to state organizations and legal institutions?
    • What kind of attitudes do they have towards these institutions?
    • How are relations with these institutions developed?Under what conditions do these relationships arise?

The Law and Territory project seeks to approach the study of the processes of delegitimization of institutions in Chile. This «institutional crisis» has been widely documented and studied from the social sciences. It relates mainly to three phenomena: the drop in the declared trust with discrete institutions, the drop in electoral participation, especially among young people, and the sustained increase in people’s participation in protests.

From the sociology of the individual, the causes of this process have been described as a «circuit of detachment that crystallized in the social outbreak of October 2019 (Araujo, 2019) . Burdened by excessive demands (“excesses”) imposed by neoliberalism on ordinary subjects, these demands would have built gradual relationships of disenchantment, expressed in transversal criticisms of the model or the system (Araujo and Martuccelli, 2012; Araujo, 2019). These criticisms have become a confirmation of the perceived uselessness of the institutions and, in the face of their continue demand towards citizens, they are translated into “irritation.” The sociological conceptualizations and the empirical works aforementioned suggest processes of change in the legal consciousness of individuals that have not been investigated by the law, where there are no studies on the relationship that individuals have been generating with the State and, subsequently with its laws. 

CIDS will explore this process in depth at the local level, concentrating on territories that may be connected to this new reality. The project tacles individuals’ disenchantment from two dimensions. On the one hand, in the project we will explore the functioning of formal institutions at the local level, in order to understand the behavior of formal organizations with respect to individuals. On the other hand, the project seeks to explore legal awareness through the perspective of individual and collectives, and their relationship with institutions.