1st Edition

The Military in South American Politics

By George Philip Copyright 1985
    406 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1985, The Military in South American Politics analyses the nature of military involvement in politics in Latin America. The author presents many original arguments in the course of his discussion of the key issues. These include: the civil-military system, whereby the military exert power and influence even when they are not in government; how this system and also military professionalism have developed over time; how the “corporatist” ethic of South America military differs from the “partisan” ethic of the military in Central American and Caribbean countries and the consequences of this; how there are different types of coups; how the military find it difficult to disengage; how the military often intervene to exercise the principle of “guardianship” in order to preserve the fabric of society and economy which, in South America, are remarkably stable despite the many coups. Throughout, the author draws on examples from all Latin American countries from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards and summarises the existing literature to support his rich and convincing arguments. The book concludes with a summary of the arguments and with a discussion of trends and the prospects for “real” democratisation. It is a must read for students and researchers of Latin American politics and military studies.

    1. Modernisation, Mass Society theory and the Middle Class Military  2. Reactions against “Modernisation”; Dependency, Bureaucratic Authoritarianism and the State   3. The Military Institution; Some Comparisons from Central America and the Caribbean  4. From Status to Institution; Early Professionalisation and its Consequences  5. The Military Institution in Politics; The First Wave  6. Military Politics in the Post-War Decades  7. South American Military Institutions; A View Inside  8. Dilemmas of Military Regimes  9. The Brazilian Regimes since 1964  10. Military Governments and Military Failures in Argentina  11. Military Radicalism and After in Peru  12. Chile under Pinochet  13. Some Other Cases; Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay  14. The Military in South American Politics  


    George Philip was Emeritus Professor of Comparative and Latin American Politics at the LSE. In a distinguished academic career that spanned over 40 years, he became one of the leading Latin Americanists of his generation. Philip’s academic writings addressed key issues of Latin American politics and political economy. He introduced several generations of both undergraduate and postgraduate students to the politics of Latin America. He had the talent to make the complex politics of the region understandable and compelling for an audience that may have no previous knowledge of it. 

    Review of the first publication:

    “It is by an intelligent and surprisingly knowledgeable author, who with this book establishes himself in the front rank of students of the Latin American military.”

    — Martin C. Needler, Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 3