Since 2019, Chilean society has focused on how to achieve peaceful coexistence among its inhabitants, due to the violent escalation of conflicts. Specialists point out that the causes of this unrest are multivariable. However, there is not the same consensus on the definition of what will enable peace. Alternative models of society are exclusionary, and the very definition of justice differs from one social group to another.
By Manuel Letzkus Palavecino and David Álvarez Maldonado.*
What can be considered just depends on a contingent definition. The French intellectual Foucault argued that justice is based on groups with greater power, who are able to use it as a tool, putting it in the hands of the most powerful groups, giving a secondary role to the legal sciences and ethics.\
Evidence of this situation can be seen, for example, in the declarations of leaders on conflictive issues: President Boric commented that he described the rodeo in rural areas as animal abuse.
This statement was received with unease by the Rodeo Federation, who described the statement as unfair.
The dilemma as to whether rodeo is animal abuse or a fair exercise of cultural traditions presents forms of justice that are exclusive, used to defend the tradition of rodeo or to prohibit it.
This situation can also be observed in more critical conflicts, such as the events in the south of the country, where Mapuche groups have declared war against the Chilean state, demanding the recovery of ancestral lands, which by cultural tradition belong to them, using armed means to achieve their objective. The claims of respect for Mapuche ancestral tradition are in contradiction with the justice of the Chilean state and the interests of the groups involved in this conflict.
These conflict situations reveal the precarious dialogue existing between the different social sectors on what a just and peaceful society means, and the same.
The processes of democratic communication are a pending challenge for the country as a whole.
* Academics from the Department of Organisational Management UTEM