Dr Sofía Ugarte

Dr Sofía Ugarte

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Anthropology

Room No
English, French, Haitian Creole, Spanish
Key Expertise
Chile and Latin America

About me

Sofía is a social anthropologist specializing in care, racism, migration and the life course in Chile and Latin America. Her research focuses on the intersections between theories of gender and kinship and their convergence with anthropological debates about state formation and economic practices in postcolonial contexts. Before coming to the LSE as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Sofía was a Teaching Associate and ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, where she completed her PhD.

For her PhD, Sofía explored the lives of migrant Haitian women in Santiago, the capital of Chile, and their everyday encounters with state bureaucrats and private employers. Based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork (2016-2018), she showed how Haitian women’s efforts to transform their lives in a new country were profoundly impacted by gendered and racial rationales of state institutions in Chile, in the context of the legacies of a military dictatorship, the experience of an immigration boom in the region, and postcolonial ideologies of whiteness and mestizaje. Sofía has published her doctoral findings in different journals and book chapters, and is currently completing a book manuscript, entitled ‘States of Care: Affective Labor and Racism in Migrant Chile.’

At the LSE, Sofía will embark on a new research project that will explore theoretically and empirically the intersections between care, intimacy, and politico-economic crises. Concretely, she will analyze the effects and affects of retirement insecurity among older adults and their impact on household economies in urban Chile. Drawing on ethnographic research with multigenerational households and audio-visual storytelling practices, Sofía will examine how pensions and retirement schemes shape the complex intersections between aging, care, and capital. By doing so, she will seek new understandings for how intimate experiences, financial uncertainty, and imagined futures become navigation tools for aging societies living through the cost-of-living crisis.

Expertise Details

Chile and Latin America; care and gender; racism; migration; capitalism; kinship and the life course; intersectionality; decolonial methods

Selected publications

Selected publications

2023. “Caring for a responsible self: Migrant motherhood and the politics of reproduction.” Signs – Journal of Women in Culture and Society 48(4), 969–990.

2022. “Skilling race: Affective labor and ‘white’ pedagogies in the Chilean service economy.” American Anthropologist 124, 536–547.

2022. “Desired formality: Labor migration, black markets, and the state in Chile.” Focaal – Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 94(Dec 2022), 115–128.

2018. “‘What if the worst happened?’ Life insurance in London as a two-faced technology.” Journal of Consumer Culture 18(1), 43–59.


Book Manuscript

(In preparation)  States of Care: Affective Labor and Racism in Migrant Chile


Book Chapters

2023. Racialized positionalities: Ethnographic responsibility and the anthropology of racism and white supremacy. En Fumanti, M., C. Lynteris & M. Demian (eds.) Anthropology and Responsibility, pp. 128–146.London: Routledge.

2020. Buscando la regularidad migratoria en los márgenes del estado: Encuentros afectivos con la burocracia chilena. En Galaz, C., N, Gissi & M. Facuse (eds.) Migraciones Transnacionales: Inclusiones diferenciales y posibilidades de reconocimiento. Santiago, Chile: Social Ediciones.