2nd Edition

Comparative Politics of Latin America
Democracy at Last?

ISBN 9780415827614
Published December 17, 2014 by Routledge
574 Pages 139 B/W Illustrations

USD $80.95

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Book Description

Students will explore and understand the evolutions and revolutions that have brought the region to where it is today in the fully-updated new edition of Daniel Hellinger’s Comparative Politics of Latin America. This text offers a unique balance of comparative politics theory and interdisciplinary country-specific context, of a thematic organization and in-depth country case studies, of culture and economics, of scholarship and pedagogy. No other textbook draws on such a diverse range of scholarly literature to help students understand the ins and outs of politics in Latin America today.

Insightful historical background in early chapters provides students with a way to think about how the past influences the present. However, while history plays a part in this text, comparative politics is the primary focus, explaining through fully integrated, detailed case studies and carefully paced analysis such concepts as democratic breakdown and transition, formal and informal institutions, the rule of law, and the impact of globalization. Country-specific narratives integrate concepts and theories from comparative politics, leading to a richer understanding of both.

Several important features of the 2nd edition ensure student success:

  • Substantially reorganized text now with 16 chapters
  • Focus Questions at the start of every chapter
  • "For Review" boxes interspersed in every chapter to ensure comprehension
  • New "Punto de Vista" boxes in every chapter, showcasing competing perspectives on democratization and development throughout the region
  • Country locator maps spread throughout the book to help students orient themselves in the region
  • "Democracy Snapshot" graphics show support for democracy in each Latin American country
  • Bolded key terms focus attention on important concepts and a glossary at the end of the book provides a useful reference
  • Discussion questions and Further Resources at the end of each chapter
  • Integrated case studies on most countries in the region
  • A companion website (http://www.routledge.com/cw/hellinger) with discussion questions and other useful study aids.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Comparative Politics, Democratic Theory and Latin American Area Studies 1. Conceptions of Democracy 2. Inequality in Latin American Politics: The Few and the Many Part II: History: Colonial Legacies, Mass Politics, and Democracy 3. Democratic and Autocratic Threads Before Columbus and in Colonial Latin America 4. Political Without Economic Independence 5. Populism, Development, and Democracy in the Twentieth Century 6. Development and Dependency: Theory and Practice in Latin America Part III: Regime Transition in Latin America 7. Democratic Breakdown and Military Rule 8. Transitions and ‘Pacted’ Democracies in Brazil and the Southern Cone 9. Transitions from Party Dominant Regimes in Mexico and Venezuela 10. Democracy in Times of Insurgency and Revolution Part IV: Institutions, Civil Society, and Rule of Law 11. Social Class and Social Conflict in Latin America's Civil Society 12. Media, Elections, and Parties 13. Institutions, Governance, and the Power Game 14. Human Rights, Corruption, and the Judiciary Part V: Latin America in the World 15. Democracy in Times of Globalization16. No One’s Backyard Anymore

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Daniel C. Hellinger is a Professor of International Relations and has been teaching at Webster University for over 30 years. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Center of Democracy in the Americas (a Washington DC-based NGO) where he supports efforts towards a better understanding of between the U.S. and Latin America. He is an authority on the politics of Venezuela.


"I highly recommend this text for undergraduate Latin American Politics classes. The conversational style is attractive and accessible to students. The thematic approach, with country illustrations, identifies the important challenges and progress, while keeping students from getting bogged down in a country-by-country approach. The comparative approach and the highlighting of competing scholarly views helps to develop student analytical skills."—Jennifer McCoy, Georgia State University

"Hellinger has produced a remarkable tool for teaching Latin American politics from a comparative perspective. His textbook covers the gamut of political issues that have confronted the region over the course of five centuries, balancing breadth with in-depth analysis of specific cases. And it does all this in language that is accessible to students and engages them in critical thinking."—Noam Lupu, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"In this Second Edition, Hellinger updates an accessible and provocative book which invites students to consider Latin American politics through important theories in comparative politics and the lenses of political actors who struggle over contending notions of democracy. Importantly, the book contains an introduction to the history of the region as well as the dominant theories that have been used to understand Latin America, and it provides multiple case studies to show the varieties of political experiences in the region. Finally, like the previous edition, this book will get students talking and motivated about Latin American politics in passionate and informed ways."—Tony Spanakos, Montclair State University

"Hellinger has crafted a wonderful introduction to the study of Latin American politics. Students will be pleased by the engaging presentation of material. Instructors will be thrilled by the thematic organization and the thoughtful use of case studies. Both students and instructors will appreciate the terrific reading, film, and website suggestions included in every chapter and the discussion questions, which serve as an excellent starting point for class discussions and debates."--Magda Hinojosa, Arizona State University

Support Material

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.