Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Miguel Centellas

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Jesse Cromwell

Relational Format



This thesis is a comparative case study of the social movements of the Mapuche in Chile and the fourteen indigenous tribes in Ecuador. I study their social movements by utilizing the structural strain theory of social movements. This theory states that people in society experience deprivation, the people recognize the deprivation, a solution is proposed and this ideology is diffused to the society, events occur to begin motion of the movement, the society (including government) need to be open to change, and eventually there will be mobilization of resources in order to form a successful social movement. The dependent variable is the development of a successful social movement and the independent variables include the manifestations, political climate, and government representation.

I hypothesize that the lack of unity among Mapuche communities is the primary cause of social movement failure; however, my research points to a broader cause of failure. The political trajectory of the country is the primary variable that determines success or failure because it determines receptiveness to change. Ecuador’s political climate encourages change, whereas, Chile’s government has, since Pinochet, been rather stagnant in enacting social change based upon outside forces. The movements’ success requires outside support. Since 1990, Ecuador’s indigenous groups have ousted two presidents and achieved constitutional recognition, but what do the Mapuche achieve? With Ecuador’s high indigenous population and its unstable government, the indigenous social movement is able to gather support from others and provide stability, whereas in Chile, demands from the indigenous social movement do not have the same national recognition and relevance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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