This volume examines a central conundrum of Latin American politics. How is that the triumph of neoliberal-inspired economic restructuring in the 1980s and 90s did not cause the political demise of populist movements? What is remarkable, as these scholars show, is that Latin American populist parties, which had long been associated with statist, quasi-Keynesian, even demagogic economic policies, have survived the transition to the much harsher era of free markets, privatisation, unemployment and increasing inequality. And without apparently losing their political popularity, in contrast both to the far left and traditional oligarchic parties. Indeed Latin American populist forces seem to have made neoliberalism their own. The Editors have carefully chosen from South and Central America a representative set of countries through which to explore this phenomenon - Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
What emerges is an up-to-date, nuanced modern political history of Latin America which does full justice to the distinctive political paths of each country while at the same time making clear the significant extent to which the region's populist tradition as a whole has adapted to the new economic realities. This is in marked contrast to the very different political trajectories of Africa and Asia in the past two decades.
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Author Biography - J. Demmers
Jolle Demmers is a lecturer in development studies and urban sociology at Utrecht University, and managing editor of the Thela Latin America Series of Thela Thesis, Amsterdam. She is author of Friends and Bitter Enemies: Politics and Neoliberal Reform in Yucatan, Mexico (1998). Alex E. Fernandez Jilberto is a senior lecturer in international relations Section at the University of Amsterdam. His books include Institutional and Economic Changes in Latin America, Africa and Asia (1996) and Regionalization and Globalization in the Modern World Economy (1998). Barbara Hogenboom is a lecturer at CEDLA, the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation in Amsterdam. Her books include Mexico and the NAFTA Environment Debate: The Transnational Politics of Economic Integration (1998).