TREWA: (En)acting Securitization and The Politics of Fear in Democratic Chile

Trewa means ‘dog’ in Mapudugun, the language of the Mapuche people. It is also a rewarded theater play that portrays the politics of terror and the intimate effects of police violence in a Mapuche family in southern Chile. In this play the trewa is a traitor, the indigenous police officer who commits state violence against his own community. The play is fictional based on many real stories, among them ethnographic descriptions from my fieldwork with rural community police patrols in the context of the so-called Mapuche conflict. Based on this fieldwork and my own participation with the theater company in this paper I present different, mainly subaltern, ways of dealing with and (en)acting security and fear in contemporary Chile: From the Mapuche police officer, to the theater director, the actors and the audiences; from the activists to the anthropologist; and – perhaps – back to the police authorities. ​

In so doing, I shed light on how invasive the politics of fear is across Chilean society and I relate the past years’ social and political unrest to the history of continuities and ruptures in the politics of securitization from the dictatorship to contemporary democracy.