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Democracy in Latin America. Surviving Conflict and Crisis?

  • ID: 3797965
  • Book
  • April 2003
  • Region: Latin America
  • 232 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Latin America has seen a great extension of democratic government over the past twenty years. However democratisation has proved problematic in a number of ways: many Latin American countries have seen little per capita growth; poverty has increased; and political crises have often recurred. The idea of the Washington consensus – that democracy, free markets and prosperity would go together in the region – has so far failed.

In the first part of the book, George Philip identifies the reasons why this should be so. The chapters are organised around relevant historical and institutional factors, such as problems with law enforcement and political tensions inherent in some Latin American variants of presidentialism, authoritarian legacies and patrimonial bureaucracies, civil–military relations, market reform and international intervention. Globalization has exacerbated these difficulties, since it has aggravated the already acute problems of governance facing emerging democracies. The second part of the book explores these issues in relation to a series of case studies involving Peru, Mexico and Venezuela.

This will be an ideal textbook for students taking courses in Latin American politics and Latin American Studies.
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"Highly recommended for upper–division undergraduate and graduate students of Latin American politics."

'The book will be helpful as an introductory overview of problems in Latin American democracy and should be useful for undergraduates.'. Latin American Research Review.

'George Phillip has written a challenging and provacative book. He correctly highlights the glaring gap between the formalities of electoral democracy, which appears to function reasonably well in many countries in Latin America, and the failure to consolidate and deepen democratic institutions. He also focuses on the root cause of non–consolidation in the region–the perverse ability of predemocratic patterns of political behaviour to survive and indeed flourish in many countries. And Philip's point is that breakdown os probably not the outcome of non–sonsolidation in most countries; rather we may see cmplex approaches to rule–breaking that preclude consolidation and that for long periods of time are superficially stable and acceptable by major actors in the political system." Riordan Roett, Johns Hopkins University
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