Representation and Effectiveness in Latin American Democracies

Congress, Judiciary and Civil Society

Edited by Moira B. MacKinnon, Ludovico Feoli

© 2013 – Routledge

312 pages

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Paperback: 9781138926400
pub: 2015-06-23
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Hardback: 9780415824330
pub: 2013-05-09
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About the Book

Legislatures, the judiciary and civil society are important actors in representative democracies. In what ways and how well do they represent? And how effectively do they carry out their institutional and social roles? Both questions refer to the key dimensions of democracy analyzed in this book: representativeness and effectiveness, respectively. While they have been developed separately in scholarly work on institutions and regimes, there is little work considering them simultaneously, and on their interaction. Using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, contributions from top scholars in the field of legislatures, the judiciary and civil society examine these two concepts and their relationships in four Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico.

Designed to guide the reader through the complexities of this debate, each expert engages in a larger set of theoretical debates about different approaches to representation in each sphere. In doing so, they debate how effectively these spheres carry out their roles in each country: whether a congress is institutionalized, its accountability, and its performance as a lawmaker; whether a judicial system is independent, carries out oversight, and protects citizen rights; and the role of civil society in a representative democracy.

Representation and Effectiveness in Latin American Democracies is a timely and welcomed contribution to the to the growing debate about the quality of democracy in Latin America, and the developing world more generally.


"A lucid, thought-provoking book that asks the right questions and offers penetrating answers sure to stimulate lively debate."

—Eduardo Silva, Tulane University

"This book represents an unprecedented attempt to tackle a key issue for democratic theory and the results of democracy at the same time. The fact that it adopts a comparative perspective, focusing on different national cases in Latin America, is undoubtedly a wise decision."

—Manuel Alcántara, Universidad de Salamanca

Table of Contents

PART I Introduction. The Representativeness – Effectiveness Dilemma; Moira MacKinnon and Ludovico Feoli PART II. 1. Reflections on the Effectiveness and Representativeness of the Chilean Congress; Eduardo Alemán 2. Argentina's Unrepresentative and Unaccountable Congress Under the Kirchners; Mark P. Jones and Juan Pablo Micozzi 3. Effectiveness and Representation: Effects on Federal Deputies’ Career Choice and Reelection; Lucio Renno and Carlos Pererira 4. Representation and Decision Making in the Mexican Congress; Maria Amparo Casar 5. Congress in Action: Representativeness and Effectiveness in Chile and Argentina (1900-1930); Moira MacKinnon PART III. 6. Effectiveness and Accessibility of Justice System Institutions in Mexico’s Transition to Democracy; Julio Ríos Figueroa 7. The Role of Chile's Constitutional Court in the Consolidation of Democracy (1990-2011); Javier Couso 8. Courting from the Left: Judicial Effectiveness and Representativeness in the Brazilian State of Acre; Matthew C. Ingram 9. Judiciary and Democracy in Argentina; Daniel Alberto Sabsay PART IV. 10. Meanings and Challenges of Representativeness in Brazilian Civil Society; Evelina Dagnino 11. Reflections on the ‘Representativeness’ of Civil Society Organizations: An Analysis of Recent Latin American trends; Enrique Peruzzotti 12. Democratic Institutions and Public Effectiveness of Chilean Civil Society in the Post Nineties; Gonzalo Delamaza PART V: Conclusion.

About the Editors

Moira B. MacKinnon is a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Inter American Policy and Research at Tulane University. She is a political and historical sociologist whose area of special interest is political institutions in Latin America, in particular Congress and political parties in the South Cone.

Ludovico Feoli is the director of the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) and a Research Associate Professor in the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Political Science at Tulane University. His research interests include the political economy of market reforms in Latin America, institutions and institutional change, and the quality of governance.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Legislative Branch
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Judicial Branch