Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America
By (author) Leonardo Avritzer
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Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America by Leonardo Avritzer
Book DescriptionThis is a bold new study of the recent emergence of democracy in Latin America. Leonardo Avritzer shows that traditional theories of democratization fall short in explaining this phenomenon. Scholars have long held that the postwar stability of Western Europe reveals that restricted democracy, or "democratic elitism," is the only realistic way to guard against forces such as the mass mobilizations that toppled European democracies after World War I. Avritzer challenges this view. Drawing on the ideas of Jurgen Habermas, he argues that democracy can be far more inclusive and can rely on a sphere of autonomous association and argument by citizens. He makes this argument by showing that democratic collective action has opened up a new "public space" for popular participation in Latin American politics. Unlike many theorists, Avritzer builds his case empirically. He looks at human rights movements in Argentina and Brazil, neighborhood associations in Brazil and Mexico, and election-monitoring initiatives in Mexico. Contending that such participation has not gone far enough, he proposes a way to involve citizens even more directly in policy decisions. For example, he points to experiments in "participatory budgeting" in two Brazilian cities. Ultimately, the concept of such a space beyond the reach of state administration fosters a broader view of democratic possibility, of the cultural transformation that spurred it, and of the tensions that persist, in a region where democracy is both new and different from the Old World models.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691090887
(229mm x 152mm x 11mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 1-Apr-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Leonardo Avritzer
Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil, Paperback (June 2009)» View all books by Leonardo Avritzer
Ultimately, Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil provides a more complex understanding of the links among participation, citizenship, and democracy through a set of case studies that will resonate both inside and outside Brazil.
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Author Biography - Leonardo Avritzer
Leonardo Avritzer is Professor of Political Science at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil. He is the author of numerous articles on democracy and civil society in Latin America, and of two books in Portugese: Sociedade Civil e Democratizacao and A Moralidade da Democracia.
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