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Democratic Transitions and New Social Movements

Lecture Powerpoint


  • How democratic were the “transitions to democracy”?
  • What was the relationship between politics and economics?
  • What role did civil society groups (women, the indigenous, black movements, church groups, landless workers) play in the process?

Required Reading

  • David Pion-Berlin, "Between Confrontation and Accommodation: military and Government Policy in Democratic Argentina," Journal of Latin American Studies, 23: 3 (Oct 1991), 543-571
  • Weyland, Kurt, “Neoliberalism and Democracy in Latin America: A mixed record,” Latin American Politics and Society, 46:1, Spring 2004, pp. 135-58.
  • Primary sources: Landless Movement (MST), “The Reality of the Brazilian Countryside,” in The Brazil Reader, eds. Robert Levine and John Crocitti (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999), pp. 264-7; or: choose articles and news on MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores sem Terra, Landless Workers’ Movement) website: [version in English]

Further Reading

  • Agier, Michel,” Racism, Culture and Black Identity in Brazil,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, Sept. 1995
  • Eckstein, Susan, et. al eds. Power and Popular Protest : Latin American Social Movements. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.
  • Garretón, Manuel Antonio, “Human Rights in the Process of Democratisation.” Journal of Latin American Studies, 26 (1994), pp. 221-34.
  • Garretón, Manuel Antonio, and Edward Newman (eds), Democracy in Latin America: (re)constructing political society (United Nations University, 2002)
  • Jane S. Jaquette, ed. Feminist agendas and democracy in Latin America. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.
  • Montero, Alfred, and David Samuels, eds. Decentralisation and Democracy in Latin America. University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.
  • Guillermo O’Donnell et. al., eds. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Latin America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1986.
  • Hooker, Juliet, “Indigenous Inclusion/Black Exclusion: Race, Ethnicity and Multicultural Citizenship in Context.” Journal of Latin American Studies, 37:2, May 2005, pp. 285-310.
  • Oxhorn, Philip. “Understanding Political Change after Authoritarian Rule: The Popular Sectors and Chile’s New Democratic Regime.” Journal of Latin American Studies, 26 (1994), 737-59.
  • Peeler, John, Building Democracy in Latin America. Boulder, 2004.
  • Benedita da Silva, Benedita da Silva: An Afro-Brazilian Woman’s Story of Politics and Love (1997), Introduction; chapter 6, “Exploding the Myth of Racial Harmony”
  • Stephen, Lynn, Women and Social Movements in Latin America: Power from Below. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.
  • Van Cott, Donna Lee. From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics. Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • Vergara-Camus, Leandro. “The Politics of the MST: Autonomous Rural Communities, the State, and Electoral Politics,” Latin American Perspectives, 36:4 (July 2009): 178-91
  • Wilde, Alexander. “Irruptions of Memory: Expressive Politics in Chile’s Transition to Democracy.” Journal of Latin American Studies, 31:2, May 1999.