Democracy in Latin America: Political Change in Comparative Perspective / Edition 2

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Thoroughly updated in its second edition, Democracy in Latin America provides an in-depth and accessible survey of processes of democratization in Latin America from 1900 to the present. In clear and jargon-free prose, acclaimed author Peter H. Smith examines the origins and evolution of democracy in Latin America; the adoption and reform of electoral institutions; the policy performance of contemporary democracies; the political representation of women, workers, and indigenous peoples; and trends in public opinion.

Adroitly blending qualitative and quantitative approaches, Democracy in Latin America, Second Edition, offers an innovative perspective on democratic change in Latin America. Enhanced by photos and text boxes featuring portraits of personalities, explanations about methodology, and comments on conceptual approaches, it is ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in political science, history, Latin American studies, and history.


* Updates empirical information on present-day developments, such as women's representation, the empowerment of indigenous peoples, and anti-poverty policies

* Interprets the emergence of the "new Left" as part of a recurring dialectic within Latin American democracy

* Analyzes the changing roles of the judiciary

* Considers the relationship between social status and satisfaction with democracy

* Reassesses the relative balance between "liberal" and "illiberal" democracy throughout the region

* Provides a completely new analysis of public opinion on the basis of raw survey data

* Takes into account the contemporary international environment, inlcuding the rise of China

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There's no real competitor to Democracy in Latin America. Peter Smith provides us with the gold standard of placing Latin American political institutions and policies in historical context and in comparative perspective."—John A. Booth, University of North Texas

"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 in democracy and democratization, not only in relation to Latin America but elsewhere."—Guillermo O'Donnell, University of Notre Dame

Foreign Affairs
This eloquent, epic retelling of Latin America's century-long struggle against elite oligarchy and populist tyranny arrives at the optimistic observation that the vast range of political experiments — left, center, and right — have converged toward democracy. Smith refutes the common notions that Latin American culture is inherently autocratic and that democracies cannot perform as well as nondemocracies in delivering social welfare. Drawing on deep area expertise and empirical tests, he joins the passion of a historian with rationalist political science and smartly enriches institutionalism with issues of identity, values, and culture. Smith's incisive literature surveys and illustrative "boxes" will help make this a favorite college text. However, a visceral anger distorts his assessment of U.S. policy (Kathryn Sikkink's Mixed Signals is a better guide to U.S. human rights policies), and he brands as "unrepresentative" political parties that do not share his own redistributive priorities. And regrettably, the text's argument trails off by ungenerously applying Fareed Zakaria's "illiberal" label to many Latin democracies — even as one of Smith's main references, Freedom House, now finds that most Latin Americans live in freedom. Still, Smith's book is a substantial contribution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195387735
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/8/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 312,286
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter H. Smith is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Simón Bolívar Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. A former president of the Latin American Studies Association, he is the author of more than twenty books, including Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World, Third Edition (OUP, 2007) and coauthor of Modern Latin America, Seventh Edition (OUP, 2009).

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Table of Contents

Tables, Figures, and Maps
Introduction: Dimensions of Democracy
A Tale of Two Presidents
Definitions of Democracy
Overview: Focus and Themes
Interpretive Arguments
Analytical Perspectives
1. Cycles of Electoral Democracy
Legacies of Independence
Cycles and Trends
Global and Comparative Perspectives
Democratic Dominoes?
Subregional Variations and the Colossus of the North
Lessons over Time: Prior Experience
Democracy and Instability
2. Transitions and Continuities
Starting Points
Economic Requisites?
Social Forces
Cycle 1: 1900-1939
Cycle 2: 1940-1977
Cycle 3: 1978-2000
End Games and Elite Bargains
The Bargaining Process
Getting to Cases
Patterns of Change in Perspective
3. The Military: Heading for the Exits?
Forging Fatherlands
Patterns of Participation
Missions and Regimes
Wars Against Subversion
The Democrats' Dilemma: To Amnesty or Not?
Precedents from Argentina
Chilean Twists
Modes of Interaction: The Armed Forces and Democracy
Has the Military Left?
4. Global Contexts, International Forces
Imperialism and Democracy
The Anticommunist Crusades
Stemming the Tides of Revolution
Displacing Inconvenient Democracies
Economic Issues: Debt and Structural Reform
The Political Economy of Globalization
Drugs, Dictators, and U.S. Policy
International Organizations
5. Presidents or Parliaments?
The Terms of Debate
Envisioning Alternatives
Proparliamentary Arguments
Attempts at Reform
Brazil: Voice of the Voters
Argentina: Calculating Political Odds
Chile: A Pact for Presidentialism
Why Not?
6. Institutional Variations
Executive Power
Means of Election
To Reelect or Not?
Sources of Power
The Legislative Branch
Electoral Systems and Rules of Representation
Reelection and Term Limits
Institutional Performance
Toppling Presidents?
Parties and Party Systems
Taking the Measure of Parties
Gauging Public Distrust
7. Elections: Voters, Winners, and Losers
Expanding the Electorate
The Range of Choice
Impacts of Bureaucratic-Authoritarianism
Legacies of Military Populism
A Resurgence of the Left
Digression: Schisms on the Left
Dilemmas of Democracy: Representation vs. Governance
8. State Capacity and Policy Performance
The Latin American State: Roles and Capacities
Democracy vs. Dictatorship: General Hypotheses
The Politics of Economic Growth
Social Impacts: Health and Education
The Problem of Poverty
Inequality and Income Distribution
9. The Politics of Social Equity
Losing Ground: The Working Class
Signs of Hard Times
Zero-Sum Politics
Women: Moving Up
Patterns of Participation
Political Representation
Positions and Policies
Gathering Strength: Indigenous Peoples
Bolivia: Party Politics
Ecuador: Strength in Social Movements
Guatemala: Civil War and Genocide
10. Freedoms, Rights, and Illiberal Democracy
Gradations of Democracy
Freedom of the Press
Antidefamation Laws and Policies
Analytical Overview
The Uneven Rule of Law
The Roles of Courts
The Changing Content of Electoral Democracy
Pathways to Full Democracy
11. The People's Verdict
The Concept of Political Culture
Democracy in Principle
The Relevance of Social Class
Democracy in Practice
Case Study: Insights from Argentina
Political Ideology
Trust in Institutions
Roots of Disenchantment
Activism and Protest
12. The Dialectic of Democracy
Findings in Review
Changing Shapes of Democracy
Democracy in the Era of Mass Politics
1940-1977: Dangers of Democracy
1978-Present: Democracy Made Safe
1998-Present: Democracy Turns Left
Epilogue: The Future of Democracy
The International Environment
Economic Dimensions
The Crash of 2007-2009
Transnational Crime
Political Developments
Democratic Tendencies
The Question of Consolidation
Deepening Democracy?
Survival, Institutionalization, and Legitimation
Alternative Scenarios
Standing Fast
Moving Ahead
Appendix 1. Classification of Electoral Regimes, 1900-2000
Appendix 2. Military Coups in Latin America, 1900-2000
Suggested Readings

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