Kelly Bauer

Apr 18, 2022

Negotiating Autonomy

Mapuche Territorial Demands and Chilean Land Policy

University of Pittsburgh Press 2021

The 1980s and '90s saw Latin American governments recognizing the property rights of Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities as part of a broader territorial policy shift. But the resulting reforms were not applied consistently, more often extending neoliberal governance than recognizing Indigenous Peoples' rights. In Negotiating Autonomy: Mapuche Territorial Demands and Chilean Land Policy (U Pittsburgh Press, 2021), Kelly Bauer explores the inconsistencies by which the Chilean government transfers land in response to Mapuche territorial demands. Interviews with community and government leaders, statistical analysis of an original dataset of Mapuche mobilization and land transfers, and analysis of policy documents reveals that many assumptions about post-dictatorship Chilean politics as technocratic and depoliticized do not apply to Indigenous policy. Rather, state officials often work to preserve the hegemony of political and economic elites in the region, effectively protecting existing market interests over efforts to extend the neoliberal project to the governance of Mapuche territorial demands. In addition to complicating understandings of Chilean governance, these hidden patterns of policy implementation reveal the numerous ways these governance strategies threaten the recognition of Indigenous rights and create limited space for communities to negotiate autonomy.

Kelly Bauer is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Nebraska Wesleyan University, and member of the Red De Politólogas – #NoSinMujeres. Her research and teaching examine state policy and rhetoric about Indigenous rights, irregular migration, and human security regimes in South America. She also researches pedagogy and knowledge production in political science classrooms, and migration politics and rhetoric in Nebraska. Her work has been externally funded by the U.S. Fulbright Program, Inter-American Foundation’s Grassroots Development Fellowship, and APSA Centennial Center.

Lamis Abdelaaty is an assistant professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at or tweet to @LAbdelaaty.

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Lamis Abdelaaty

Dr. Lamis Abdelaaty is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Her book, Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Email her at
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