This book offers a novel political-institutional explanation for variation in political polarization, outsider populism, and the fate of democratic regimes across twenty-first-century South America. Drawing upon a wealth of primary evidence and employing process tracing tests to evaluate key causal claims, the book examines how the occurrence - or not - of state crises and the inherited strength of left wing political actors combined to push countries onto distinct party system trajectories characterized by different kinds of left parties and movements, highly variant levels of polarization, and ultimately divergent political regime dynamics. The book challenges extant interpretations of political variation during Latin America's turn to the left, which have centered on economic explanations. It also develops new theoretical propositions for understanding polarization, populism, and democratic erosion in young democracies across the world.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.22(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.91(d)|
About the Author
Samuel Handlin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah. He is the co-editor and co-author of Reorganizing Popular Politics: Participation and the New Interest Regime in Latin America (2009, with Ruth Berins Collier). He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 and was previously a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Table of ContentsPart I. Puzzles and Theoretical Explanations: 1. State crises, the left, and democracy in contemporary South America; 2. Explaining divergent party system trajectories and regime dynamic; Part II. Venezuela and Brazil: 3. Venezuela: development of a highly polarizing party system; 4. Brazil: development of a weakly polarizing party system; 5. Democratic erosion in Venezuela, representative democracy in Brazil; Part III. Perspectives across South America: 6. Bolivia and Ecuador: high polarization and democratic erosion; 7. Chile and Uruguay: low polarization and representative democracy; 8. Paraguay and Peru: low polarization and polyarchy; Part IV. Conclusion: 9. Longer-term legacies and comparative perspectives around the world; Appendix A. Operationalization of state crisis and left-wing infrastructure; Appendix B. Operationalization of polarization and regime categories; Bibliography; Index.