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Modern Latin American Politics

Grace Livingstone

This session considers political governance and political movements in Latin America from the early twentieth century to the current day.  It gives an overview of liberalism, populism, military dictatorships, the transition to democracy, neo-liberalism and the rise of new left governments.   It discusses how far political formations can be related to the political economy of Latin America and its changing sociology or whether political developments can be better understood by analysing institutional structures, political parties and the practice of political actors.   Using a historical perspective we will analyse current political events in Latin America.

Key words:  populism, dictatorship,  neoliberalism, institutionalism, structuralism, rational choice

Required Reading

  • Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith, Modern Latin America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) Chapter 2, pp.42-68 (Moodle)
  • Scott Mainwaring and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival and Fall (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013) Introduction, pp.1-28 ebook
  • Guillermo O’Donnell, Bureaucratic Authoritarianism: Argentina 1966-1973 in Comparative Perspective (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), Chapter 1, pp. 1-39.
  • Francisco Panizza. (ed), Populism and the Mirror of Democracy, (London:Verso, 2005), Introduction pp. 1-32 (Moodle)
  • Maristella Svampa, ‘La Pandemia Desde América Latina: Nueve tesis para un balance provisorio’, Nuevo Sociedad, No. 291, Jan-Feb 2021.

Please read about the current political situation in one Latin American country.  Who is in power?  Who are their supporters?  Is their government stable?  Who are the opposition?  Are there protests?  Is there violence?     
Please be ready to talk about it for a couple of minutes so we can compare and contrast countries


Further Reading

  • Ruth Berins Collier & Samuel Handlin (eds.) Reorganizing Popular Politics: Participation and the New Interest Regime In Latin America (University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009)
  • Steven Levitsky, James Loxton, Brandon Van Dyck, Jorge I. Dominguez (eds.), Challenges of Party Building in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press: 2016)
  • Peter Kingstone and Deborah Yashar, Routledge Handbook of Latin American Politics (New York: Routledge, 2017)
  • Steve Ellner, Latin America’s Radical Left: Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty First Century (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlfield, 2014)
  • Maria Luisa Femenias and Amy Oliver, Feminist Philosophy in Latin America and Spain, (Amsterdam, Rodopi:, 2007)
  • Scott Mainwaring and Timothy R. Scully (eds.), Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America (Stanford: Stanford Univeristy Press, 1995)
  • Gabriel Negretto,Making Constitutions: Presidents, Parties and Institutional Choice (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  • Juan Grigera, ‘Populism in Latin America: Old and New Populisms in Argentina and Brazil’, International Political Science Review, 2017, Vol.38 (4), pp.441-455
  • Ines Nercesian ‘America Latina en el Siglo XXI, Reflexiones Inconclusas’   in Burkart, Mara y Giletta, Matías (coords.): ‘Dossier Argentina: treinta años de democraciaObservatorio Latinoamericano , Nº 12,  UBA, 2013.  
  • Pía Riggirozzi & Christopher Wylde, Handbook of South American Governance (London: Routledge, 2017)
  • Ernesto Stein and Mariano Tommasi (eds.), Policymaking in Latin America: How Politics Shapes Policies (New York: Inter-American Development Bank, 2008). 
  • Maristella Svampa, Debates Latinoamericanos: Indianismo, Desarrollo, Dependencia y Populismo (Edhasa: Buenos Aires, 2016)
  • Harry Vanden and Gary Prevost (eds.) Politics of Latin America: The Power Game (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
  • Jean Grugel and Pia Riggirozzi, ‘Neoliberal Disruption and Neoliberalism’s Afterlife in Latin America: What’s Left of Post-Neoliberalism?’, Critical social policy: a journal of theory and practice in social welfare. Volume 38: Number 3 (2018); pp 547-56