Democracy in Latin America: (Re)Constructing Political Society

  • Edited Manuel Antonio Garretón M. and Edward Newman

    ISBN-10: 92-808-1068-5,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1068-4
    United Nations University Press
    February 2001

    Democracy in Latin America: (Re)Constructing Political Society
    Edited by Manuel Antonio Garretón M. and Edward Newman

    (Re)democratization in much of Latin America has had to confront a legacy of civil war or political repression, as well as the social dilemmas inherent in the integration of the region into the global market-based economy. Moreover, (re)democratization has encountered a deep rooted and sometimes destabilizing colonial legacy of social and ethnic division, and the effects of power structures that existed long before democracy.

    Democracy in Latin America examines democratic transition and consolidation in post-authoritarian and post-civil war Latin America. Its central premise is that the fundamental prerequisite of democracy is the existence of a polity or ‘political society’, something that has been weak or under threat. The challenges of (re)constructing ‘political societies’ rests upon a broad definition of democracy as more than electoral systems and institutions. A range of issues are embraced: dealing with past abuses of human rights by balancing justice and reconciliation; integrating societies into global market economics, with the accompanying social and political impact this has brought; the manner in which external actors – such as the United Nations, international financial institutions, and multinational corporations – have conditioned or facilitated democracy; the role of civil society; the problems of achieving a sense of citizenship in many communities; the perennial ‘indigenous issue’; and the pervading gap between the procedure and the substance of democracy. The norm of democracy is becoming embedded in regional and national politics. The authors of this volume suggest, however, that the journey to meaningful democracy is unfinished.

    “Acknowledged experts offer a significant survey of the contemporary changes in political societies in Latin America. Democracy in Latin America is a work of high competence and serious concern that will be of interest to all those attempting to follow a rapidly changing field.” Professor Douglas A. Chalmers – Director, Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University”

    Manuel Antonio Garretón M. is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chile. Edward Newman is an Academic Programme Associate of the Peace and Governance Programme at the United Nations University.

    Table of Contents:

    Scenarios of Democracy and Transition
    - Transitions: Brazil
    - Transitions: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay
    - Reforms: Mexico and Columbia
    - Foundations: Central America
    - Crisis and regression: Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and Paraguay

    Democracy and the (Re)Construction of Political Society
    - Social Dimensions: Ethnicity
    - Reconciliation
    - The New Socio Political Matrix
    - The Transformation of Political Culture
    - The International Dimension of Democratization and Human Rights in Latin America


    Maria D’Alva Kinzo
    Marcelo Cavarozzi
    Laurence Whitehead
    Edelberto Torres-Rivas
    Heinz Sonntag
    Rodolfo Stavenhagen
    Amparo Menendez-Carrion
    Ellen L. Lutz
    Kathryn Sikkink