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Democracy's checkered past and uncertain future in the developing world still puzzles and fascinates. In Latin America, attempts to construct resilient democracies have been as pervasive as reversals have been cruel. This book is based on a wealth of original historical documents and contemporary interviews with prominent political actors and analyses five centuries of political history in these paradigmatic cases of outstanding democratic success and abysmal failure. It shows that while factors highlighted by standard explanations matter, it is political culture that configures economic development, institutional choices and political pacts in ways that directly affect both democracy's chances and its quality. But it also claims that political culture is a dynamic combination of rational and normative imperatives that define actors' views of the permissible, shape their sense of realism, structure political struggles and legitimate the resulting distribution of power.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521842037
ISBN-10: 0521842034
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 21mm)
Pages: 302
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 22-Aug-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Consuelo Cruz

Consuelo Cruz is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. Previously she taught at Columbia University, where she also served for a year as director of the Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies. Cruz received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has published in Comparative Politics, World Politics, the Journal of Democracy, Political Science Quarterly, Latin American Research Review, and in edited volumes.