Social Representations of Latin American History and (Post)Colonial Relations in Brazil, Chile and Mexico


  • Julia Alves Brasil
  • Rosa Cabecinhas


Social representations of history play an important role in defining the identity of national and supranational groups such asLatin America, and also influencing present-day intergroup relations. In this paper, we discuss a study that aimed to analyseand compare social representations of Latin American history among Brazilian, Chilean, and Mexican participants. We conducteda survey with 213 university students, aged 18 to 35 years old, from these three countries, through an online questionnairewith open-ended questions about important events and people in the region's history. Despite the reference to different historicalevents and the existence of national specificities, several common topics were noteworthy across the three samples. Therewas a centrality of events involving political issues, conflicts and revolutions, as well as a recency effect and a sociocentricbias, replicating previous research about social representations of world history in different countries. There was also a strongprominence of colonization and independence issues in all samples. Through an emphasis on a common narrative of struggleand overcoming difficulties, the participants’ social representations of Latin American history may favour mobilization andresistance, challenging the stability and legitimacy of the existing social order. Furthermore, the findings are discussed in termsof their potential connections with present-day intergroup relations within Latin America, and between Latin America and otherparts of the world.