TREWA: (En)acting Securitization and The Politics of Fear in Democratic Chile

Event date
28 May 2024
Event time
16:15 - 17:30
Oxford week
TT 6
HYBRID SEMINAR - Criminology Seminar Room

Helene Risor, Anthropology Department, PUC.

Notes & Changes

Trewa means ‘dog’ in Mapudugun, the language of the Mapuche people. It is also a rewarded theater play that portrays the politics of terror and the intimate effects of police violence in a Mapuche family in southern Chile. In this play the trewa is a traitor, the indigenous police officer who commits state violence against his own community. The play is fictional based on many real stories, among them ethnographic descriptions from my fieldwork with rural community police patrols in the context of the so-called Mapuche conflict. Based on this fieldwork and my own participation with the theater company in this paper I present different, mainly subaltern, ways of dealing with and (en)acting security and fear in contemporary Chile: From the Mapuche police officer, to the theater director, the actors and the audiences; from the activists to the anthropologist; and - perhaps – back to the police authorities. ​

In so doing, I shed light on how invasive the politics of fear is across Chilean society and I relate the past years’ social and political unrest to the history of continuities and ruptures in the politics of securitization from the dictatorship to contemporary democracy.


*Event organised in collaboration between the Southernising Criminology and the Police and Policing Research discussion groups.


Speaker's BIO

Dr. Helene Risor is an Anthropology lecturer and researcher at Potificia Universidad Católica from Chile. Her research revolve around the intersections of social and political life, exploring how subjects become political actors and what are the effects and affects produced by social and state violence.​

Her research has contributed to the anthropological theory on violence, state -formation and human rights, particularly in relation to revolutionary practices and democratic processes in the global context of neoliberalism.  ​

Helene's research focuses in two areas: a) neoliberal democracy and b) revolution from a material, spatial and diachronic perspective. She is currently exploring the methodological and analytical intersections between art and social science for which she has carried out field work with the Chilean police in the context of the so-called "Mapuche conflict”, a research that has inspired the play TREWA by dramaturgist Paula Gonzalez and the KIMUN theater company. 


* Dr. Helene Risor will be remotely, however people are welcome to join us at the Centre for Criminology's Seminar Room for the event and enjoy some refreshments since 4.00 pm (GTM)

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