Materializando la modernidad: Mapeando discursos identitarios en la construcción de la Ruta 5 chilena

Translated title of the contribution: Materializing modernity: Mapping identity discourses through the contruction of Chile's Route 5

Isidora Urrutia Steinert

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


Until the 1990s, roads were generally considered non-places; during the last decades, however, scholars have acknowledged that roads hold out promises and meanings that go beyond their functionality: modernization, connectivity, political integration, and economic development, among others. Some have stated that roads and their promises constitute a liminal space, a borderline between the all-encompassing narratives of globalization and the particular and tangible materialities of local times and places, (dis)connecting dominant images and ideals regarding the nation-state, and local and everyday practices and experiences. Route 5 is Chile’s longest highway (3,364 km), going through thirteen of Chile’s fifteen regions and connecting the southernmost point of the island of Chiloé and the Chilean border with Perú at the north. This paper is part of a study of the different (historical and contemporary) identity discourses attached to Chile’s Route 5, examining the links between materiality, identities, and movement along this road and its roadside. Here, I analyse the identity discourses that the Chilean technical, political and economic elites attached to Route 5 during its two main construction periods (1920-1930 and 1958-1964) as a starting point to study other discourses that the road performs and enacts, arguing that this road’s construction portrayed a way to ‘modernize’ the country. I analyse what these elites meant by ‘modernity’, as being the ‘master narrative’ behind Route 5, and how this conception dialogued with other Latin American identity accounts such as Pan-Americanism, the idea of a ‘technocratic modernity’, and the decolonial matrix of coloniality and modernity.
Translated title of the contributionMaterializing modernity: Mapping identity discourses through the contruction of Chile's Route 5
Original languageSpanish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Nov 2017
EventLatin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Conference - Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 24 May 201827 May 2018


ConferenceLatin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Conference


  • Roads
  • Identity
  • Modernity
  • material culture
  • colonial modernity


Dive into the research topics of 'Materializing modernity: Mapping identity discourses through the contruction of Chile's Route 5'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this