UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Neoliberal desires, spectacles of market-nationalism, utopian performances : a feminist analysis of gendered cultural narratives in post-dictatorship Chile Valle Castro, Manuela


My dissertation explores neoliberalism as a gendered cultural discourse in post-dictatorship Chile. I argue that the transformation of the developmentalist narrative (characteristic of the Popular Front and the Popular Unity) into a neoliberal narrative during the Dictatorship and the Transition, depended on the staging of a series of spectacles of gender and sexuality that offered new coordinates for subjectivation. Applying a feminist reading to a variety of materials from advertising, telenovelas, and media articles, I show how these cultural artifacts work to legitimize neoliberalism, reproduce or reinterpret national memories, and shape particular forms of (social, collective) desire through a narrative of “sexual freedom.” Through this analysis I provide evidence of how what I call “the sexualized spectacles of neoliberalism” recreate the coordinates of heterosexuality, sexual respectability and gender nationalism in post-dictatorship Chile. Freemarketism in Chile then has been sustained by gendered spectacles of “sexual freedom,” while laws and policies that regulate and discipline bodies are still articulated around notions of (hetero)sexual respectability. This leads me to ask how these spectacles and the narratives they articulate are being negotiated, resisted, and transformed through embodied queer and feminist political practices. I explore how activist performance has contributed to the expansion of cultural memories and the emergence of utopian political imaginaries and subjects in post-dictatorship Chile (1990-2013). I approach these questions from an interdisciplinary approach to feminist research, informed by discourse analysis, psychoanalysis, post-colonial theory, Latin American readings of queer theories, and cultural studies. I argue that the queer and feminist activist performances analyzed in this thesis enact femininity in a strategic, rather than essentialist manner, to oppose and subvert the militarized male gaze. These performances offer clues of alternative embodiments (through the aesthetics of horror and pornography, for instance), subjectivities, political projects, and political imaginations, in which the street is seen as a public space and stage for democracy, and subjectivities are based on the “interconnection of bodies,” rather than defined by the notion of individual rights and bodily sovereignty.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada