This book’s central goal is to help undergraduate students taking their first course in Latin American politics make the transition from understanding the factors that shape democracies—the systems with which they are most familiar—to those that shape the political values, politics, and governmental institutions of the authoritarian tradition and qualified democratic systems of Latin America.
It is a short, pithy introduction written in a clear style that will include an extensive glossary of terms as well as maps, tables and charts to facilitate the goal of the book. Another key feature is a brief overview of the academic approaches to studying Latin American politics, including historical, political culture, development/modernization theory, dependency theory, IPE theories, and neoliberal theories approaches.
Overall, this short text is intended to be used in the first few weeks of a course to foster an understanding of how Latin America is distinct from the liberal, populist tradition that students were likely raised in. Starting with general features of the region, the text gradually moves to discuss variations across Latin America emphasizing the degrees of democratization.
It can be used in conjunction with the first several chapters of a larger core text or to ramp everyone up quickly before going into individual country case studies.
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