Latin America’s Struggle for Democracy


Latin America’s Struggle for Democracy
Edited by Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner and Diego Abente Brun
2008, Johns Hopkins University Press
301 pages

DESPITE the great optimism that has accompanied the study of democratisation in Latin America, transition conceals a complex reality. As Diego Abente Brun points out in the “Introduction” to this superb overview of the theme of democracy in Latin America, democratic governance does not mean the same everywhere in the region, different regimes exhibit different traits, and there are new trends that have the capacity to alter the political landscape. This volume considers these trends, not least political instability and its implications for constitutional systems; an emerging “crisis of representation” evidenced in part by growing levels of dissatisfaction and disenchantment; the reemergence of the Left; and the impact that worsening levels of inequality will have on politics in the region. This volume incorporates 19 well chosen contributions on trends and case studies that cover everything from populism, socialism and democratic institutions to the idea that in the Caribbean democracy may be adrift. It provides an excellent introduction for students of Latin American politics and democracy more broadly and, as the first Journal of Democracy book wholly devoted to Latin America, should be required reading for students of the region. – GO’T

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