Chilean Exiles, Reconciliation and Return: An Alternative View from Below

Shirin Hirsch

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Abstract

This is a paper on the disjuncture between memories in exile and the actuality of return, through a case study of Chilean exiles returnees. It will be demonstrated that 'diaspora involvement' can be contradictory within political transitions; the case of Chile demonstrates no unifying political route within the diaspora. Moreover, it will be argued that the context in which a diaspora returns is crucial to an understanding of this journey and resettlement. The article will discuss the negotiation of an exile past with the new realities of Chilean society based on a 'pacted transition'. The nature of the Chilean transition, based on political reconciliation without legal justice, deeply impinged on the returnee experiences explored within this paper, intensifying feelings of a 'second exile'. The paper therefore offers an alternative view from below, ignored within much of the existing literature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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