Democracy in Latin America

Democracy in Latin America : Political Change in Comparative Perspective

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This book details the processes of democratization in Latin America today. Smith looks at some of the key issues that inhere in the move toward democracy - elections, culture, representation, poverty, and criminality, among others - through a focus on six paradigmatic "case studies" in the region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Examining factors such as history, the economy, and individual societies, Smith analyzes what is new and different about the current phase of democracy in the region. Accompanying the text are numerous photographs, maps, tables, figures to aid his analysis. There is particular attention to providing extensive empirical data necessary to convey basic information and analysis. To enhance readability, boxed material is diffused throughout the text, presenting illustrative anecdotes, explantions of methodology, and comments on perceptual approaches. Peter Smith is a highly respected scholar, Director of Latin American Studies at the University of California at San Diego. His Talons of the Eagle focuses on the relationship between Latin America and the United States, and he is the co-author of the seminal contemporary history of the region, Modern Latin America. Both of these titles are published by OUP, and both have gone through multiple editions. This book fits neatly into the Latin American studies course more

Product details

  • Paperback | 412 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 20mm | 580.61g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • numerous figres & halftones, 2 maps
  • 0195157591
  • 9780195157598
  • 901,795

Review quote

"I cannot think of a better person than Peter Smith to undertake such a challenging project as this review of a century of Latin American struggles to attain democracy. He combines an intimate knowledge of the history of the twentieth century (his co-authored textbook on post-independence Latin America is the standard in the f ield), a deep understanding of political science, and a keen sense of international relations . . . This very readable, impressively researched and methodologically sophisticated study analyzes the unpredictable and sometimes unsteady course of nineteen Latin American countries to explain how democracy has become widespread . . .Democracy in Latin America will be essential reading for scholars, statesmen, and students concerned with Latin America's place in the world in our uncharted journey through the waters of globalization and the wars on terrorism."--Steven Topik, Department of History, Univ of California, Irvine"This book is a major achievement. It uniquely combines historical depth, masterful organization of a great mass of information, sophisticated data analysis, shrewd interpretation and, indeed, great writing. This book is a must for persons interested on democracy and democratization, not only in relation to Latin America but also elsewhere--I do hope that this exemplary study will serve as a guide and an example for studies of similar quality." -- Guillermo O'Donnell, Helen Kellogg Professor of Government, University of Notre Dame"Peter Smith does a superb job of wrestling with the most challenging conceptual questions related to democracy in Latin America. Drawing on insights from various disciplines and vast and sophisticated knowledge of the region, he puts contemporary debates about democracy in their proper historical perspective. More than a splendid synthesis of wide-ranging material, Smith's first-rate book is an instructive, scholarly contribution that will be an invaluable reference for students and decision makers seeking to enrich their understanding of such a crucial subject."-- Michael Shifter, Inter-American Dialogue"This is the definitive book on the evolution and struggles of democracy in Latin America in the twentieth century. Both a comprehensive historical account and an important work of social science analysis, it is must reading for any student of Latin American politics and a distinguished contribution to the comparative democracy literature." -- Larry Diamond, Stanford University"[Peter Smith] blends history and political science to create an illuminating and readable critical analysis of an issue that is of vital importance to Latin America --and the United States." -- Peter Winn, Tufts University"This book offers a masterful synthesis of extant literature and original research on regime changes and varieties of democratic experiences in 20th century Latin America. The analysis is truly comprehensive, ranging from a focus on social forces, the military, and the international context to constitutions, parties, and elections, and to the state, social equity, civil and political rights, and public opinion. Peter Smith artfully weaves case discussions into the larger theoretical framework and makes a complex reality accessible to undergraduate students." -- Evelyne Huber, University of North Carolinashow more

Table of contents

PREFACE ; TABLES ; FIGURES ; MAPS ; INTRODUCTION: DIMENSIONS OF DEMOCRACY ; PART 1: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES 1900-2000 ; 1. Cycles of Electoral Democracy ; 2. Transitions and Continuities ; 3. The Military: Heading for the Exits ; 4. Global Contexts, International Forces ; PART II: THE ELECTORAL ARENA ; 5. Exploring Institutional Alternatives: Presidentialism or Parliamentarism? ; 6. Varieties of Presidentialism ; 7. Elections: Voters, Winners, Losers ; PART III: QUALITIES OF DEMOCRACY ; 8. State Capacity and Policy Performance ; 9. Democracy and Social Equity ; 10. Freedoms, Rights, and Illiberal Democracy ; 11. The People's Verdict ; CONCLUSION ; 12. The Taming of Democracy ; EPILOGUE: THE CHALLENGE OF DEMOCRACY ; APPENDICES ; A1 CLASSIFICATION OF ELECTORAL REGIMES 1900-2000 ; A2 MILITARY COUPS IN LATIN AMERICA 1900-2000 ; A3 KEY VARIABLES IN STATISTICAL ANALYSIS ; SUGGESTED READINGSshow more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.35 out of 5 stars
5 15% (5)
4 26% (9)
3 41% (14)
2 15% (5)
1 3% (1)
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