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Department of Social Anthropology


Senior Research Seminar with Dr Sofía Ugarte (University of Cambridge)
Racialisation as encounter: migrant labour and ‘white’ pedagogies in the Chilean service economy

This presentation examines the effects of racialisation practices in quotidian encounters between migrant Haitian women looking for work and Chilean employers in job interviews and skills-training programmes in Santiago. I show how racialised differences become materialised in everyday interactions and constitute a landscape of servitude in the Chilean service economy based on a particular history and pedagogy of ‘mestizo-whiteness.’ I argue that to become appropriate and hireable workers, Haitian women transform their hearts, minds and bodies according to racialised-gendered hierarchies, attaching desires and aspirations to the country’s globalised labour market. In this case, the embodiment of differences involves a form of affective labour that contributes to Haitians women’s sense of unworthiness, failure, and despair beyond the job-search event. As a result, racialisation as encounter unsettles the heterogenous meanings of ‘race’ in Latin America, and the ways sedimented histories of postcoloniality intersect with contemporary forms of transnational mobility and intimate experiences of inequality in a changing region.

Friday, 27 November, 2020 - 16:15 to 18:00
Event location: 
Online - by email invitation