Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America


Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America, 3rd Edition
Michael Shifter
2008, The Johns Hopkins University Press
412 pages

THERE is no better overview about the latest condition of democracy in Latin America, and above all about the most recent priorities when it comes to the evolving study of democratisation in the region, than this volume. It is a field that changes subtly, but constantly, and knowing what the emerging trends in governance are and what weight to place upon the large range of variables by which the quality of democracy can be determined – or what weight to give arguments in what remains a fiercely contested field – is of paramount importance. In this latest, third edition of Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America, Domínguez and Shifter have chosen contributors who zoom in on the key themes of current debate – the faltering consensus about convergence, the backlash against market reforms, issues of inclusion and equality – as well as providing a range of country case studies that will be an invaluable point of reference for students. If this volume does not – and cannot – attempt to resolve the fundamental disagreements about what democracy is or should be in Latin America, it goes a long way to providing the data, arguments and examples that will enable the informed reader to address these questions to his or her own satisfaction. – GO’T

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