Apprehending Volition in Early Socialization: Raising “Little Persons” among Rural Mapuche Families

Marjorie Murray, Sofía Bowen, Nicole Segura, Marisol Olaya Verdugo Paiva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork with rural Mapuche families in the Araucanía region of Chile, this article analyzes ways in which Mapuche parenting practices and the process of socialization during early childhood involve and transmit a sense of volition that is intrinsic to Mapuche notions of personhood and autonomy. Recounting concrete daily events, we describe how children make use of their own initiative and intentionality when exploring, acting, learning, and creating social relationships. At the same time, Mapuche parents avoid constant visual supervision and direct intervention, rarely oppressing children's volition while respecting and valuing children's personal and direct experiences of the world. By considering volition as an important cultural feature of parenting and socialization, and by reflecting upon how different ideologies of childhood and parenting relate to children's volition, we aim to contribute to current developments on early socialization and parenting cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-401
Number of pages26
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Early socialization, volition, Mapuche, parenting


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