Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Sociology


This thesis is about the articulation of a multiplicity of modes of production over five centuries and the intertwined processes of class, gender and state formation in Chile and Mapuchemapu. These included the seigniorial mode of production which resulted from the articulation of feudal and indigenous modes and was consolidated in the eventeenth century in the colonial social formation and manifest in the encomienda and the hacienda.

This articulation meant for the Mapuche a significant but not total transformation of their communal mode into a new social formation of patriarchal cacicazgos containing embryonic classes of non-producers and producers. It weakened Mapuche social solidarity and political unity and consolidated patriarchy such that polygamy became, as never before, exclusive to powerful men who in this way concentrated political power, accumulated wealth and secured control of the land, when industrial capitalism was entering its monopolistic and imperialist phase in the industrial centres in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Patriarchal capitalism emerged as the dominant mode of production in the Chilean social formation even though seigniorial relations continued in agriculture until the 1960s and despite the resistance of the Mapuche nation which still struggles to recover its expropriated land and suppressed traditions. The study aims also to demonstrate the salience of historical materialism as an efficient instrument of social analysis useful in the revolutionary transformation of capitalism. It contributes to the reconstruction of historical materialism by showing that history and social processes cannot be understood without the study of gender formation and that they are not even, teleological or pre-ordained.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.