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Taking a fresh thematic approach to politics and society in Latin America, this book analyzes the region's past and present in an accessible and engaging style. The book provides historical insights into modern states and critical issues they are facing, with insightful analyses that are supported by empirical data, maps and timelines. Drawing upon cutting-edge research, the text considers critical topics relevant to all countries within the region such as the expansion of democracy and citizenship rights and responses to human rights abuses, corruption, and violence. Each richly illustrated chapter contains a compelling and cohesive narrative, followed by thought-provoking questions and further reading suggestions, making this text a vital resource for anyone interested in Latin American politics.

 
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Over the past 50 years, scholars across the social sciences have employed critical juncture analysis to understand how social orders are created, become entrenched, and change. In this book, leading scholars from several disciplines offer the first coordinated effort to define this field of research, assess its theoretical and methodological foundations, and use a critical assessment of current practices as a basis for guiding its future. Contributors include stars in this field who have written some of the classic works on critical junctures, as well as the rising stars of the next generation who will continue to shape historical comparative analysis for years to come. Critical Junctures and Historical Legacies will be an indispensable resource for social science research methods scholars and students.

 

Latin America is currently caught in a middle-quality institutional trap, combining flawed democracies and low-to-medium capacity States. Yet, contrary to conventional wisdom, the sequence of development - Latin America has democratized before building capable States - does not explain the region's quandary. States can make democracy, but so too can democracy make States. Thus, the starting point of political developments is less important than whether the State-democracy relationship is a virtuous cycle, triggering causal mechanisms that reinforce each other. However, the State-democracy interaction generates a virtuous cycle only under certain macroconditions. In Latin America, the State-democracy interaction has not generated a virtuous cycle: problems regarding the State prevent full democratization and problems of democracy prevent the development of state capacity. Moreover, multiple macroconditions provide a foundation for this distinctive pattern of State-democracy interaction. The suboptimal political equilibrium in contemporary Latin America is a robust one.

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Although democracy is a widely held value, concrete measurement of it is elusive. Gerardo L. Munck’s constructive assessment of the methods used to measure democracies promises to bring order to the debate in academia and in practice.


Drawing on his years of academic research on democracy and measurement and his practical experience evaluating democratic practices for the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Munck's discussion bridges the theories of academia with practical applications. In proposing a more open and collaborative relationship between theory and action, he makes the case for reassessing how democracy is measured and encourages fundamental changes in methodology. Munck’s field-tested framework for quantifying and qualifying democracy is built around two instruments he developed: the UN Development Programme’s Electoral Democracy Index and a case-by-case election monitoring tool used by the OAS.


Measuring Democracy offers specific, real-world lessons that scholars and practitioners can use to improve the quality and utility of data about democracy.

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In the first collection of interviews with the most prominent scholars in comparative politics since World War II, Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder trace key developments in the field during the twentieth century. 


Organized around a broad set of themes―intellectual formation and training; major works and ideas; the craft and tools of research; colleagues, collaborators, and students; and the past and future of comparative politics―these in-depth interviews offer unique and candid reflections that bring the research process to life and shed light on the human dimension of scholarship. 


Giving voice to scholars who practice their craft in different ways yet share a passion for knowledge about global politics, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics offers a wealth of insights into contemporary debates about the state of knowledge in comparative politics and the future of the field.

This book has been translated into Spanish, Korean, and Chinese.
 
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This volume focuses on democracy in Latin America and assesses the state of current knowledge on the topic and identifies new research frontiers in the study of Latin American politics. It provides an overview of research agendas and strategies used in the literature over the past four decades. It tackles a series of central questions--What is democracy? Is democracy an absolute value? Are current conceptualizations of democracy adequate? How and why does democracy work or fail in Latin America?--and spells out the implications of answers to these questions for current research agendas.

 
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Military rule in Argentina from 1976 to 1983 was a classic case of bureaucratic authoritarianism. This book now presents for the first time in English a close look at that country’s experience, providing new information on legal and institutional aspects of the Argentine regime and the intricate interaction between military rulers and trade unionists, while offering a model for the study of regimes in general.

Integrating insights from a wide range of literature, Gerardo Munck advances a novel conceptual framework for the study of political regimes and regime change. He follows the life cycle of regimes from founding through consolidation to demise, identifying critical explanatory factors and showing how challenges faced by governing elites in one phase affect subsequent political developments.