Their Dissidence Remains: Lessons from the 2011 Chilean Student Movement

  • Daniella Wittern Bush
Part of the Contemporary Performance InterActions book series (CPI)


June 24, 2011, 5:30 pm: Thousands of raggedly clothed bodies, faces pale and sunken, break out into dance to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ in front of the Chilean Presidential Palace. Wearing tombstones around their necks, these ‘zombies’ are really students who have become deeply indebted in their pursuit of education. But how to change an entrenched system that perpetuates extreme inequalities of wealth and resources? Well, the students suggest, via flash mob, for starters.

Sounds interesting? Google ‘Thriller por la educación’—or the kiss-ins, beach days, super hero battles, marathons, or other protests orchestrated by the Chilean Student Movement that followed—and you can re-witness the whole event, even choose between myriad viewing angles. Keep sifting through the search results, and you might learn how the protests were planned, rehearsed, or about their international media after-lives.

Given the liminal nature of its dissidents, the Chilean Student Movement needed an appealing and enduring mode of protest to achieve results in the face of constant turnover. This chapter explores the lessons offered by the Chilean students’ fusion of performance, charisma, fiesta, and digital archive in order to sustain resistance in an ongoing push for reform of their educational system.


Chilean student movement Thriller Student protest Digital archive Educational system reform Fiesta 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniella Wittern Bush
    • 1
  1. 1.WorcesterUSA

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