After a decade in local office, are indigenous peoples' governments in the Andes fulfilling their promise to provide a more participatory, accountable, and deliberative form of democracy? Using current debates in democratic theory as a framework, Donna Lee Van Cott examines 10 examples of institutional innovation by indigenous party-controlled municipalities in Bolivia and Ecuador. In contrast to studies emphasizing the role of individuals and civil society, the findings underscore the contributions of leadership and political parties to promoting participation and deliberation - even at the local level. Democratic quality is more likely to improve where local actors initiate and design institutions. Van Cott concludes that indigenous parties' innovations have improved democratic quality in some respects, but that authoritarian tendencies endemic to Andean cultures and political organizations have limited their positive impact.
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(228mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Donna Lee Van Cott
Donna Lee Van Cott is associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. She is author of From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics (2005), winner of the 2006 Best Book on Comparative Politics award, American Political Science Association, Organized Section on Race, Ethnicity and Politics, and a 2006 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. She is also the author of The Friendly Liquidation of the Past: The Politics of Diversity in Latin America (2000) and the editor of Indigenous Peoples and Democracy in Latin America (1994). Van Cott has published several dozen articles on ethnic and Andean politics in such journals as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, Studies in Comparative International Development, America Latina Hoy, Democratization, Latin American Research Review, and Latin American Politics and Society. She has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Peace, University of Notre Dame. She previously taught at Tulane University and the University of Tennessee.