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Un Manjar: Viral Chilean slang

Thu, 12 May 2016 13:00:30 +0000

  In Chile, “manjar” is a kind of sweet sauce, similar to dulce de leche or caramel. It’s often used as filling in layer cakes or atop pancakes. It is almost universally loved for its smooth rich flavour. But ‘manjar’ is also used in slang to mean ‘rich’ or ‘sweet’ in other contexts as well. […]

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Chile field site

Street view of Chile fieldsite

This fieldsite is a city in Northern Chile, that has large numbers of migrants from Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Equador, and other regions of Chile. Like most of Chile, here the foothills of the Andes mountains drop almost directly into the Pacific Ocean. The fieldsite, a city of about 100,000 is located in the hills about 600 meters above the sea. Just below, 10 km to the West, lies a major port city of South America. Residents in the fieldsite are well integrated with the economic activities of the port city, but also have a distinct set of government structures, daily routines, and modes of interpersonal communication.

In fact, the city has only been officially incorporated as a municipality for nine years, meaning it is still finding its own political and social identity. It is known as a marginal community, that is somewhat impoverished and dangerous, but many residents resent this characterisation and strive to make the community a place they are proud of.

It is expected that social networking sites will play an important role in how this community develops it’s own identity in terms of education, civic involvement, and education, among other aspects. Because of the high population of migrants, it is also expected that social media will be important to communication with people far away, whether in other parts of Chile or abroad. As fieldwork proceeds, data is being collected on the impact of new modes of communication on the lives of Northern Chileans.  


European Research CouncilEuropean UnionUCL Department of Anthropology

Grant number: ERC Project 2011-AdG-295486 SocNet
Project title: Social Network Sites and Social Science