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Social Media in Northern Chile

Social Media in Northern Chile OPEN ACCESS

Nell Haynes
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition: 1
Published by: UCL Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Social Media in Northern Chile
    Book Description:

    Based on 15 months of ethnographic research in the city of Alto Hospicio in northern Chile, this book describes how the residents use social media, and the consequences of this use in their daily lives. Nell Haynes argues that social media is a place where Alto Hospicio’s residents – or Hospiceños – express their feelings of marginalisation that result from living in city far from the national capital, and with a notoriously low quality of life compared to other urban areas in Chile. In actively distancing themselves from residents in cities such as Santiago, Hospiceños identify as marginalised citizens, and express a new kind of social norm. Yet Haynes finds that by contrasting their own lived experiences with those of people in metropolitan areas, Hospiceños are strengthening their own sense of community and the sense of normativity that shapes their daily lives. This exciting conclusion is illustrated by the range of social media posts about personal relationships, politics and national citizenship, particularly on Facebook.

    eISBN: 978-1-910634-59-2
    Subjects: Anthropology
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  1. This book is one of a series of 11 titles. There are nine monographs devoted to specific field sites (including this one) in Brazil, Chile, China, England, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey – they will be published in 2016–17. The series also includes a comparative book about all of our findings, published to accompany this title, and a final book which contrasts the visuals that people post on Facebook in the English field site with those on our Trinidadian field site.

    When we tell people that we have written nine monographs about social media around the world, and that they...

  2. On 18 September 2014 – Chile’s national holiday, theFiestas Patrias– 24-year-old Nicole work up early in her family apartment. She looked out the window at Alto Hospicio, in the north of the country. Her mother was in the kitchen preparing food for the occasion and her father had just arrived home from a week-long shift as a heavy machine operator at a large copper mine a few hours away from the city. She could hear her younger brother still snoring through the thin walls of their small apartment. As usual she grabbed her second-hand iPhone 4 to send Martin, her...

  3. On a cloudy afternoon I met Andres, Francisca and her fiancé Franklin in the main plaza before walking to acolacióntake-away restaurant. We entered the front of the shop and paid $ 3,000 CLP (US$ 5) each to the cashier, who handed us tickets to claim our food at the counter. There we peered through the cloudy glass at the possible offerings: beef, pan-fried chicken, noodles with pesto sauce, potatoes with mayonnaise, lettuce, rice and the typical Chilean salad consisting of tomatoes, onions and coriander. I gave my order of chicken, noodles and salad at the counter, then sat...

  4. In Alto Hospicio there is a homogeneity that pervades the visual landscape. People, each with their individual differences, still fit neatly into the setting. Their T-shirts and jeans, often purchased used from the Agro market, are rarely meant to attract attention. There are few big buildings and very little advertising. Houses all seem to look the same, like giant Lego blocks stacked one or two high on each narrow street. One street looks just like the next, with a row of houses flanked by corner shops; the cars that pass by the main plaza seem to be all of the...

  5. I am something of a suspicious character in Alto Hospicio. To begin with, I visibly stand out. As a very light-skinned person of Polish, German and English ancestry, I simply look very different from most of the residents of Alto Hospicio, whose ancestry is some combination of Spanish, Aymara, Quechua, Mapuche, Afro-Caribbean and Chinese. During my first week in Alto Hospicio a woman stopped me as we passed on the street near the commercial centre of the city. ‘You look North American!’ she stated matter-of-factly, then walked away without waiting for a response.

    Beyond the simple surprise that my physical...

  6. One day while scrolling through postings I noticed a controversy brewing on 31-year-old Omar’s Facebook wall. He had posted some text – meant to evoke a mixture of sincerity and humour – about his vision for the future.

    Searching: for a woman who wants me to cook her lunch and clean the house. She is required to work, buy the food and treat me to drinks occasionally. Also maybe buy me an Xbox. Send me a message!

    Several men posted supportive comments or ‘liked’ the post, but a few of Omar’s female friends and acquaintances wrote comments which accused him of being...

  7. On 1 April 2014, around 8: 30 pm, an earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter¹ scale struck 50 km from Alto Hospicio. The buildings shook violently for three minutes and the electricity went out. In complete darkness people began to evacuate the apartment complexes and houses as another earthquake, this time measuring 7.8, trembled a few minutes later. These earthquakes caused seven deaths, but the real disaster unfolded over the coming days, weeks and months.

    For almost two weeks there was no electricity or running water in the city. The highway that connects Alto Hospicio with Iquique suffered giant fissures,...

  8. Three letters representing two words: ‘que weon’. Of courseweonis one of those Chilean Spanish words which everyone understands, but which is not quite translatable. It may be used for greeting a good friend, or talking about an enemy – or even shouted when the national team scores a seemingly impossible goal. Twenty-three-year-old Tomás used this word to introduce a meme on his Facebook wall.

    This meme, illustrated in Fig. 7.1, makes clear the ways in which everyday behaviours are performances. Included within these behaviours is social media use, where people perform in order to identify the self as a...