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Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America

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Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This is a bold new study of the recent emergence of democracy in Latin America. Leonardo Avritzer shows that traditional theories of democratization fall short in explaining this phenomenon. Scholars have long held that the postwar stability of Western Europe reveals that restricted democracy, or "democratic elitism," is the only realistic way to guard against forces such as the mass mobilizations that toppled European democracies after World War I. Avritzer challenges this view. Drawing on the ideas of Jürgen Habermas, he argues that democracy can be far more inclusive and can rely on a sphere of autonomous association and argument by citizens. He makes this argument by showing that democratic collective action has opened up a new "public space" for popular participation in Latin American politics.

Unlike many theorists, Avritzer builds his case empirically. He looks at human rights movements in Argentina and Brazil, neighborhood associations in Brazil and Mexico, and election-monitoring initiatives in Mexico. Contending that such participation has not gone far enough, he proposes a way to involve citizens even more directly in policy decisions. For example, he points to experiments in "participatory budgeting" in two Brazilian cities. Ultimately, the concept of such a space beyond the reach of state administration fosters a broader view of democratic possibility, of the cultural transformation that spurred it, and of the tensions that persist, in a region where democracy is both new and different from the Old World models.

Synopsis:

"This book makes significant contributions to the field, addressing key issues in comparative politics from a variety of perspectives and with a rich series of empirical referents. One of the first studies to develop a normative theory of democracy and democratization from a specifically Latin American perspective, it is at the cutting edge of a growing body of literature that is again examining the role of political culture in the region's politics."--Philip Oxhorn, McGill University

"Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America is an essay in comparative political sociology written in the grand style. An ambitious and intelligent book that could make a significant impact on the literature, it offers a sustained critique of democratic elitism and the distortions that this theoretical perspective has introduced into our understanding of democratization."--Laurence Whitehead, Oxford University

Synopsis:

This is a bold new study of the recent emergence of democracy in Latin America. Leonardo Avritzer shows that traditional theories of democratization fall short in explaining this phenomenon. Scholars have long held that the postwar stability of Western Europe reveals that restricted democracy, or "democratic elitism," is the only realistic way to guard against forces such as the mass mobilizations that toppled European democracies after World War I. Avritzer challenges this view. Drawing on the ideas of Jürgen Habermas, he argues that democracy can be far more inclusive and can rely on a sphere of autonomous association and argument by citizens. He makes this argument by showing that democratic collective action has opened up a new "public space" for popular participation in Latin American politics.

Unlike many theorists, Avritzer builds his case empirically. He looks at human rights movements in Argentina and Brazil, neighborhood associations in Brazil and Mexico, and election-monitoring initiatives in Mexico. Contending that such participation has not gone far enough, he proposes a way to involve citizens even more directly in policy decisions. For example, he points to experiments in "participatory budgeting" in two Brazilian cities. Ultimately, the concept of such a space beyond the reach of state administration fosters a broader view of democratic possibility, of the cultural transformation that spurred it, and of the tensions that persist, in a region where democracy is both new and different from the Old World models.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS v

INTRODUCTION 3

ONE. Democratic Theory and Democratization 11

TWO. Democratic Theory and the Formation of a Public Sphere 36

THREE. Democracy and the Latin American Tadition 55

FOUR. The Transformation of the Latin American Public Space 77

FIVE. Democratization in Latin America

The Conflict between Public Practices and the Logic of Political Society 103

SIX. Participatory Publics in Brazil and Mexico

The Compatibility of Public Deliberation and Complex Administration 135

SEVEN. Concluding Remarks on the Democratizing Role of Participatory Publics 165

NOTES 171

REFERENCES 185

INDEX 199

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691090887
Author:
Avritzer, Leonardo
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Government (non-U.S.)
Subject:
Political participation
Subject:
Political culture
Subject:
Collective behavior
Subject:
International Relations - General
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
Government - Comparative
Subject:
International Relations
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Latin American studies
Subject:
Political participation -- Latin America.
Subject:
Democracy -- Latin America.
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
102
Publication Date:
April 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 11 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America New Trade Paper
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$40.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691090887 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This book makes significant contributions to the field, addressing key issues in comparative politics from a variety of perspectives and with a rich series of empirical referents. One of the first studies to develop a normative theory of democracy and democratization from a specifically Latin American perspective, it is at the cutting edge of a growing body of literature that is again examining the role of political culture in the region's politics."--Philip Oxhorn, McGill University

"Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America is an essay in comparative political sociology written in the grand style. An ambitious and intelligent book that could make a significant impact on the literature, it offers a sustained critique of democratic elitism and the distortions that this theoretical perspective has introduced into our understanding of democratization."--Laurence Whitehead, Oxford University

"Synopsis" by , This is a bold new study of the recent emergence of democracy in Latin America. Leonardo Avritzer shows that traditional theories of democratization fall short in explaining this phenomenon. Scholars have long held that the postwar stability of Western Europe reveals that restricted democracy, or "democratic elitism," is the only realistic way to guard against forces such as the mass mobilizations that toppled European democracies after World War I. Avritzer challenges this view. Drawing on the ideas of Jürgen Habermas, he argues that democracy can be far more inclusive and can rely on a sphere of autonomous association and argument by citizens. He makes this argument by showing that democratic collective action has opened up a new "public space" for popular participation in Latin American politics.

Unlike many theorists, Avritzer builds his case empirically. He looks at human rights movements in Argentina and Brazil, neighborhood associations in Brazil and Mexico, and election-monitoring initiatives in Mexico. Contending that such participation has not gone far enough, he proposes a way to involve citizens even more directly in policy decisions. For example, he points to experiments in "participatory budgeting" in two Brazilian cities. Ultimately, the concept of such a space beyond the reach of state administration fosters a broader view of democratic possibility, of the cultural transformation that spurred it, and of the tensions that persist, in a region where democracy is both new and different from the Old World models.

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