The present article aims at analyzing the meanings assigned by the Chilean university students to the protests practices and occupation of public spaces, which have been carried out in the framework of the student protests of 2011. For that purpose, an intentional sample composed of students from public and private universities in the region of Valparaíso, Chile, was designed. As information production technique, we used the focus group. As analysis technique, the "content analysis" was used. The results were organized into thematic categories, which express the way in which university students signify forms of collective action: "against the model, considering the model itself", "protest and public space", "transformation of the public scope: individualism and commercialization", "occupying the communication media and building public opinion" and "the students as consciousness-raising of society". We conclude that young university students established complex meanings about their practices of protest and social mobilization, expressed in forms of unconventional action and tensions with the model of which they are heirs.
students' protests; public space; Chile; public education