The Affect of the State: Affective Responses to the Bureaucratic State Structures of Migration to Chile

Maria Schrupp


As human resettlement becomes increasingly frequent, it is crucial to gain a deep understanding of the affective realities of migrants. This article uses qualitative methods such as participant observation and semi-structured interviews to explore the emotions and feelings Venezuelan migrants experience during their relocation to Santiago, Chile. Fieldwork for this project took place between June and August of 2019. During this time, Chile experienced an exponential increase in migrants due to the Venezuelan crisis and a resulting rise in social tensions. This article focuses on Venezuelan migrants’ dual affective responses to the state and the bureaucratic processes they encounter as they begin to experience everyday life in Chile. Specifically, I explore narratives concerning the negative emotions experienced by Venezuelan migrants when negotiating with bureaucratic structures, and the positive emotions toward the abstract state that created and ran those structures.


migration; bureaucracy; Venezuela; Chile

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The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Karen McGarry.

ISSN 2369-8721