We explain anti-rights protests in Chile drawing on social movement and power devaluation theories. To understand this phenomenon, we use regression analyses of longitudinal, municipal-level data and case studies of three recent movements.
Movements seeking to restrict others’ rights have increased across the world in the past few decades. Their activists struggle to defend privilege and preclude the social inclusion of historically disenfranchised groups such as women, ethnic, sexual and gender minorities, and immigrants. We call these groups anti-rights movements. Despite the global importance of these movements, no studies have so far systematically analyzed their emergence in Latin America. Drawing on social movement and power devaluation theory, we evaluate the social, cultural and political causes of anti-rights mobilization in Chile. The explanations we find highlight the reactive quality of protest events and the role that supportive political authorities play in triggering them. To reach these results, we use a mixed-methods design. First, we use longitudinal, municipal-level data from the COES Social Conflict Observatory to carry out zero-inflated negative binomial regressions of anti-rights protests events between 2009-2019. Second, we illustrate the processes behind these mobilizations with three case studies: movements against the right to abortion (2015), transgender rights (2017), and indigenous people’s rights (2020).