This article examines how upward mobility affects both class and ethnic social positioning of Mapuche indigenous people in Chile. The article builds on cultural class analysis dominated by Bourdieusian approaches, suggesting the incorporation of an intersectional and postcolonial lens, considering the ways in which ethnicity complicates classed trajectories, focusing on class mobility and indigeneity. Drawing on 40 life history interviews of first-generation Mapuche professionals, the analysis reveals complex and varied responses to social mobility. The interviewees display three groups of responses: the ‘mobile-accommodators’, embracing deracinated middle-class identities; the ‘rooted’, asserting connections with working-class and Mapuche origins; and the ‘resignifiers’, embracing a more ambivalent class identity, but articulating a strong sense of Mapuche identity. The experience of upward social mobility represents a challenge to the respondents’ sense of class position, class and ethnic identities, as they have had to manage indigenous identity claims across their social origins and destinations.
Como citar: Sepúlveda, D. (2022). Upward Social Mobility in Chile: The Negotiation of Class and Ethnic Identities. Sociology, 00380385221099402. https://doi.org/10.1177/00380385221099402