Neoliberalism and its discontents: three decades of Chilean women’s poetry (1980-2010)
Fernández Melleda, Bárbara
This thesis explores reactions of Chilean women’s poetry to neoliberalism in three chronological stages between 1980 and 2010. The first one focuses upon the years between 1980 and 1990 with the poems Bobby Sands desfallece en el muro (1983) by Carmen Berenguer and La bandera de Chile (1981) by Elvira Hernández, which are analysed in Chapters 2 and 3. These poems are reactions not only to the violence exerted during Pinochet’s regime (1973-1990), but also to the ideological purpose behind it: the overturning of the welfare state in favour of the privatisation of all public services. Both texts address these issues by developing themes of isolation and national identity. The second stage comprises the decade between 1990 and 2000. The poems selected to study this phase are Escrito en Braille (1999) by Alejandra Del Río and Uranio (1999) by Marina Arrate, which are developed in Chapters 4 and 5. Both texts express utter disillusion with their times. For these authors, the return of democracy after the 1988 plebiscite reveals that the country is not at ease with itself nor has it healed the wounds of its recent past. The poems enunciate an endless hopelessness based on the impossibility to overcome the commodification of daily life. Finally, the period between 2000 and 2010 shows the most explicit criticism of neoliberalism in the cohort, which also means that the economic model is fully functional. Both, Copyright (2003) by Nadia Prado and Bracea (2007) by Malú Urriola, studied in Chapters 6 and 7, are texts that express the discontents of living in a society ruled by neoliberalism, where those who see themselves as subjects and not consumers are in some ways alienated and deemed as freaks. This thesis proposes that women poets react to neoliberalism from a deep concern for Chilean society and its future.