Democratic Latin America  book cover
2nd Edition

Democratic Latin America

ISBN 9781138682672
Published August 31, 2017 by Routledge
462 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $17.39
was $86.95
USD $69.56

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This much-expanded and updated second edition of Democratic Latin America takes an institutional approach to Latin American politics to discuss contemporary politics and to highlight how past politics have shaped current institutional designs. It draws explicit connections between certain political features- such as fragmentation, efficiency, accountability, instability, consensus, or responsiveness- and the institutional design of a country. Students thus learn not only that a country is unstable or has high rates of participation or low levels of corruption, but they also learn why. And more importantly, they also learn how politics can be shaped by different institutional arrangements.


  • Each chapter focuses on a different institution, such as the executive, political parties, electoral systems, the armed forces, or federalism and compares how they are constructed differently across countries.
  • Placing a premium on accessibility, each chapter opens with a story and ends with a detailed country case study, making use of contemporary examples to feed student interest in current events.
  • Newly updated comparison-based tables and box features (electoral results, percentage of women legislators, and surveys of partisan identification) are included to stimulate analysis.
  • New topics of research have been added to ensure the recognition of the latest changes in the region, including: corruption scandals; the turn of the "pink tide"; protest and social movements; LGBT rights; citizen security and organized crime; new forms of legislative accountability; and the use of social media as a political resource in Latin America.

Democratic Latin America continues to offer an original way of teaching and learning about Latin American politics.

Table of Contents


1. An Institutional Approach to Democracy and Democratization in Latin America

2. State and Nation in Colonial Latin America

3. Constitutions: From States and Nations to Regimes, and Back Again

4. The Executive Branch: Latin American Style

5. The Legislative Branch: The Centerpiece of Democracy Under Fire

6. The Judiciary in Latin America: Separate but Unequal

7. Electoral Systems: The Core of Democratic Politics

8. From Civil Society to Political Parties: Putting Democracy into Practice

9. Federalism and Unitarism: Learning to Share

10. The Armed Forces: Bridging the Civil-Military Divide

View More



Craig L. Arceneaux is Professor of Political Science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He served as Chair of the Political Science Department from 2009-2013.


'This updated and expanded edition of Democratic Latin America remains the best textbook available on this important region. Its focus on institutions, joining of concepts with country cases, and coverage of 18 countries makes it an unparalleled teaching tool, while its superb organization and writing style makes it extremely accessible to students.' - David Pion-Berlin, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Riverside

'Professor Arceneaux’s second edition of Democratic Latin America sets a new standard for textbooks about Latin American politics. This new edition offers students an up-to-date version of Latin American case studies, a theoretical approach based on institutionalism to analyze politics, tables to exemplify the theory, and a narrative that is both elegant and accessible to all readers. For professors of comparative politics and Latin American studies, Democratic Latin America provides an extremely valuable heuristic and pedagogic tool to teach beginners and advanced students the institutional politics of a region that is complex and dynamic. This volume also offers a well-researched reference about institutionalism and bridges a theoretical gap between rational, normative and historical approaches to political institutions, using Latin American case studies as a testing laboratory. The result is a comprehensive book that compares a wide range of Latin American countries in a variety of formal and informal institutional settings, such as congressional, electoral, judicial as well as societal and military politics. At a time when Latin American politics is undergoing profound changes in a post-democratic era, this book is timely and a must read for all students of Latin America.' - Arturo Sotomayor, Associate Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio

Support Material


  • Instructor Resources

    To gain access to the instructor resources for this title, please visit the Instructor Resources Download Hub.

    You will be prompted to fill out a registration form which will be verified by one of our sales reps.