In this article, we analyze the continuities and changes of Chile's largest party in terms of both voters and seats: the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI). Our analysis takes into account the first steps of the UDI as a university student movement in the late 1960s and covers through 2010, when it ceased to be an opposition party and joined the Alianza por Chile center-right coalition government. Using Mahoney and Thelen's typology (2010), we show that the UDI underwent a process of incremental change, which implied the conservation and strengthening of rules and routinized procedures, however reinterpreted by successive generations of leaders. We connect the Mahoney and Thelen approach with the insights of sociology of institution, inspired by Pierre Bourdieu's theory, showing that UDI institutionalization results from a double dynamic: the adjustment to a particular order of adapted and adaptable habitus, but also the emergence of mismatch/detachment processes occurring over time and resulting in generational and positional oppositions between different groups of actors who assign distinctive goals to their engagement and to the party. We study this double dynamic, reconstructing the evolution from an initial partisan relation which takes the form of a "community" (Weber) to "society", taking into account both exogenous and endogenous factors. This work, which relies on several types of sources (biographic interviews with most of the UDI top leaders who were part of its founding core group; a sociographic survey applied to party delegates and press archives), thus apprehends party institutionalization as a dynamic and interactive process, which begins before party official birth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science