This is an introductory text with a difference. Unlike many textbooks, it is organized by topic rather than country, and describes Latin America in an accessible language familiar to all students of politics. It addresses interests, identities, and actors, but remains distinctive in its attention to legal frameworks, political institutions, and the organization of government itself. The governments of Latin America today are mostly democratic, but democratic advance comes accompanied by persistent problems of oligarchic power, political corruption, legal impunity, and social exclusion. The authors show how the quality of the region’s democratic governments depends on their variable success in responding to these challenges.
Governing Latin America draws on the political diversity of the region’s twenty–one republics to discover their general characteristics. These characteristics are rooted in regional history and culture, but powerfully influenced by global economy and international actors. Regional traditions and global realities are combined into an original synthesis that will appeal to students and teachers of both Latin American and comparative politics.
List of Tables.
Introduction: Governing Latin America.
Part I: Authority And Power.
1. Authoritarianism And Democracy In Latin America.
2. Latin America And The Democratic Universe.
Part II: Accountability And Legitimacy.
3. Government And Citizens.
4. Constitutionalism And The Rule Of Law.
Part III: Representation, Political And Social Rights.
5. Political Parties.
6. Presidents, Legislatures, And Elections.
7. Political And Social Rights.
Part IV: Participation, Contestation, And Civil Rights.
8. New Political Actors.
9. Minority And Indigenous Rights.
10. Uneven Democratic Performance.
Peter H. Smith, University of California
"This is destined to become the essential text for courses on Latin American politics. It draws on contemporary political science for its analytical approach, and marries this with a lively and informed discussion of political development in Latin America. I know of no other book that succeeds so well in compressing a complicated story into a coherent and compelling narrative."
Alan Angell, University of Oxford