The Vicissitudes of the “New” Chilean Right: The Building of a Partisan Institution (1967–2010)

By Stéphanie Alenda

This paper analyzes the phases of the building of a partisan institution, taking the case-study of Chile’s largest party in terms of both voters and seats: the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI), active supporter of the military government. The study of this successful institution, through the socializations, trajectories and sociographic profile of its main leaders, reveals a double dynamic of institutionalization: the adjustment to a particular order of adapted and adaptable habitus, but also the emergence of mismatch/detachment processes occurring over time and resulting in generational and positional oppositions between different groups of actors : members of parliament, mayors, « new generations », or hard-core leaders who ardently supported Pinochet regime. We show that the party succeeded in converting itself into an institution thanks to its ability to maintain a subjective sense of belonging to a « We » (the initial partisan relationship assimilable to the Weberian « community »), concomitant to a logic of competition proper to « society ».

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