Carlos Munizaga A. is a young Chilean sociologist whose current research is concerned with the problems faced by Mapuche Indians in their endeavor to gain assimilation into the modern, urban life of Santiago. He has already published works on this subject, and the present short treatise is envisioned as a preliminary approach to a more extensive study that he hopes shortly to conclude.
In this preliminary work Munizaga deals primarily with the transitional structures which Mapuche Indians newly arrived in Santiago find useful in their often painful adjustment to a new mode of life. Informal associations, such as football clubs, frequently ease the burdens of cultural conflict faced by aborigines who have newly made their way into urban slums. Useful also are regular visits, particularly on Sundays and holidays, to parks and small restaurant-bars, often with dancing facilities, where the Indian, in the company of others of his ethnic group, gradually begins to participate in the same forms of recreation practiced by non-Indian, urban groups. The better educated Mapuches often join together in voluntary political and cultural associations.
It is highly encouraging that the Centro de Estudios Antropológicos of the University of Chile, directed by Luis Sandoval A. and under whose auspices the present study was published, is devoting considerable attention to the problem of the assimilation of migrating Mapuche groups into urban life. Previously, much of what masqueraded for sociology in Latin America was characterized by racial prejudice, the basic assumption being that Indians are innately inferior. The most recent studies, such as those of Munizaga, have begun to cast away from unscientific prejudices and to approach sympathetically and constructively the problems of culture conflict, personal disorientation, and sometimes moral deterioration, faced by Indians undergoing the rural to urban transition.