Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form


Jaffe, Tracey Lynn (2009) IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CRISTO OBRERO: CHILE'S YOUNG CATHOLIC WORKERS MOVEMENT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, FACTORY, AND FAMILY, 1946-1973. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (1MB) | Preview


This dissertation examines the history of the Chilean Young Catholic Workers movement (JOC) from its founding in 1946 until the 1973 coup that almost completely destroyed it. The study explores how the JOC, a specialized branch of Catholic Action, formed a significant link in the widespread mobilization of the working classes in postwar Chile, where the movement achieved a depth and influence unmatched anywhere else in Latin America. The JOC reached its peak in the 1950s in the country's booming industrial centers, with the movement's many large-scale events, activities, and campaigns attracting thousands from across the country, but it continued to have a considerable presence in working-class neighborhoods through the politically turbulent 1960s and early 70s. Fomenting a social and political consciousness intertwined with Catholic religiosity, the JOC served as a launching pad for local community activism as well as involvement in political parties and unions. Furthermore, JOC activists' commitment to social justice forged a path for the "popular" or "liberationist" Church that became a cornerstone of resistance to the Pinochet dictatorship.<br><br>While connecting the JOC to Chile's broader social and political history, this dissertation focuses attention on how the ideologies and policies of a reformist Church worked themselves out on the ground. Drawing on both oral and written sources, it emphasizes the movement's significance for the young women and men living in Santiago's densely populated slums and working in the city's factories, workshops, and commercial centers. In particular, JOC activists' personal stories reveal how religion, class, and gender intersected in the movement to empower female workers. Despite being embedded in a patriarchal Church structure, the JOC's social Catholic discourse led working-class women to carve out a unique space for social activism and leadership that deeply influenced female activists' expectations regarding domestic relations and motherhood. At the same time, the JOC's focus on workers and workplace issues also made it attractive to young men, who traditionally shied away from Church participation at the parish level. In a movement in which women had equal authority, this participation provoked a subtle shift in men's perceptions of male power and dominance.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jaffe, Tracey Lynnjaffe@pitt.eduJAFFE
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairReid Andrews, George
Committee MemberDe La Fuente, Alejandro
Committee MemberBlee, Kathleen
Committee MemberPutnam, Lara
Committee MemberKane, Paula M
Date: 30 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 20 April 2009
Approval Date: 30 September 2009
Submission Date: 15 July 2009
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Catholic Church; Catholic left; Christian Democratic Party; CIEP; Communist Party; gender; Institute of Popular Education; labor movement; poblaciones; Santiago; Social Catholicism
Other ID:, etd-07152009-031448
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:51
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:45


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item