Citizenship v.3 1920 x 820


Uncertain Citizenship: everyday practices of Bolivian migrants in Chile

Hosted by the Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC)

Vera Anstey Room, Old Building


Megan Ryburn

Megan Ryburn

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre

Professor Linda McDowell

Professor Linda McDowell

Senior Professorial Researcher, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Professor Cathy McIlwaine

Professor Cathy McIlwaine

Department of Geography, King’s College London


Professor Gareth A. Jones

Professor Gareth A. Jones

Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Centre

We are entering an era of exacerbated racism and xenophobia. In the global North, the rise of Trump and victory of Brexit have been preceded and followed by an increase in discrimination toward migrants and minorities and a stunning lack of compassion toward refugees. In less well studied contexts of the global South many migrants are also subject to discrimination and exploitation. There is an urgent need to better engage with South-South migration, which accounts for over 50% of migration globally. In Latin America -  particularly South America - intra-regional migration is increasing and diversifying rapidly, challenging how citizenship in the region is understood and experienced.

Uncertain Citizenship explores how Bolivian migrants to Chile experience citizenship across borders in their daily lives. Compelled to migrate by economic marginalization and lack of opportunities, in Chile they may face a multitude of challenges in different arenas from difficulties acquiring regular legal status, exploitative labour conditions, poor housing conditions, problems accessing health care and education, social isolation and discrimination to a sense of ambivalence toward and exclusion from certain forms of political participation.

Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic research, this book contributes to debates on the meaning and practice of citizenship in Latin America and for migrants throughout the world. In this time of deep uncertainty for many migrants, it is necessary to seize on the germ of possibility that uncertainty contains and present an alternative politics based on inclusive citizenship.

About the author:

Dr Megan Ryburn (@M_Ryburn) is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre. She was previously an LSE Fellow in Human Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment, and continues to teach in the Department.

Megan’s work focuses on migration and citizenship in Latin America, and increasingly on violence and borderlands. Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Chile and Bolivia, her doctoral research addressed the everyday citizenship practices of Bolivian migrants in Chile. Taking a similar methodological approach, her current project funded by the British Academy looks at how Colombian migrant women in Antofagasta, Chile navigate contexts of structural, and sometimes physical, violence across borders.


Professor Cathy McIlwaine (@McIlwaineC). Cathy's research revolves around issues of gender, poverty and violence in cities of the global South, especially in Latin America, but also in South East Asia and southern Africa. Most recently she has directed a collaborative ESRC project on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) among Brazilian migrants in London and among those living in a marginal urban community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently working on a project, Step Up Migrant Women, which examines the experiences of gender-based violence among migrant women with insecure immigration status (with the Latin American Women's Rights Service).

Professor Linda McDowell (@oxfordgeography). Linda is a Senior Professorial Researcher at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. Linda She is an economic geographer interested in the connections between economic restructuring, labour market change and class and gender divisions in Great Britain. She has been at the forefront in the development of feminist perspectives on contemporary social and economic change, as well as in the development of feminist methodologies and pedagogic practices. 


Professor Gareth A. Jones (@LSE_LACC). Gareth is Professor of Urban Geography, Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Centre and Associate Member of the International Inequalities Institute. Gareth's research interests are in urban geography, with a particular interest in how people make use of the city, how cities are represented by policy and practice. He has conducted research in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, India, Ghana and South Africa.

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