The Party Family: The Private Life of Communists in Twentieth-Century Chile


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation analyzes Chilean communism from 1930 to 1990, encapsulating the multiple layers that make up “The Party Family.” First and foremost, this study examines the family life of communist members. Its main purpose is to advance a holistic understanding of political activism, one that challenges approaches that reduce politics to its public expressions. Chilean communists forged a political subculture that merged active political engagement in the public realm with proper family life in the domestic sphere. Notions of respectability strengthened the connection between private life and public personae. Second, the project documents the kinship ties that undergirded the party’s organizational structure and studies its networks of solidarity and gendered hierarchies. Finally, the project contributes to a deeper understanding of the family of the political left in Latin America while engaging in broader discussions about the nature of political engagement and the functioning of political parties.