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Polis (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0718-6568


ESPINOZA, Vicente. Social basis of power dynamics in the Chilean political elite: Personal networks of parliamentarians, during 1990-2005. Polis [online]. 2010, vol.9, n.26, pp.251-286. ISSN 0718-6568.

Since democracy returned to Chile in 1990, the political block that gained the government that time ruled the country during 20 years. Although government's control changed to a different coalition in 2010, the previous block continues to exist and retains control in parliament. How could one understand that stability? This article pursues a line of inquiry based on the hypothesis that a similar social origin of parliamentarians as well as frequent social interaction would soften ideological differences making more likely political transformations or even the change of the group in power. The analysis considers socio-demographic data and network data for a sample of 37 current and 20 former parliamentarians. The results show that parliamentarians are increasingly recruited from a homogeneous social circle, characterized by high socioeconomic status, attending to private schools and pursuing university careers. The map of their social relations focused on active strong social ties, shows that the ideological division between dictatorship and democracy penetrated deep into the social structure, establishing a large social distance between politicians. The social map also shows an emerging socially diverse political arena composed of younger politicians and regional leaders, who find in universities their preferred milieu.

Palabras clave : power networks; sociability; political elite; parliamentarians.

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