Shaping a Nation: Middle Class Mobilization in Caracas

Laura Alarcón : Anthropology

Mentor: Laura Nader, Anthropology

Neighborhood associations in east Caracas have been pivotal in organizing the large demonstrations, an average of five per week, that have characterized public protest against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during the last year. Laura’s project, which will constitute her senior honors thesis in anthropology, will examine how two middle class neighborhoods in east Caracas exercise power against Chavez’s administration, and how this exercise of power affects other sectors of society. Through participant observation, in-depth and key informant interviews in two east Caracas neighborhoods (Chacao and California Norte) that are specifically active in the movement, Laura will explore how neighbors organize and mobilize in the city: how and where people meet, what kind of rhetoric they use, and why they mobilize. This study will help to understand the socio-political implications of movements led by the middle class.