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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 the different approaches to the study of politics.   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.  To probe these questions,  we will consider the rise of military governments in the 1960s and 1970s.  Using a historical perspective,  we will also analyse current political events in Latin America.

Key words:  military dictatorship, dependency, bureaucratic authoritarianism, neoliberalism, institutionalism

Required Reading (see 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 
  • Guillermo O’Donnell, Bureaucratic Authoritarianism: Argentina 1966-1973 in Comparative Perspective (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), Chapter 1, pp. 1-39.
  • María Elena Acuña Moenne, ,Embodying Memory: Women and the Legacy of the Military Government in Chile’, Feminist Review, No. 79, 2005, pp. 150-161.
  • Helpful background reading (but not required reading): Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith, Modern Latin America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) Chapter 2, pp.42-68

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