Politics of Latin America: The Power Game

Politics of Latin America: The Power Game

Politics of Latin America: The Power Game

Politics of Latin America: The Power Game

Synopsis

Politics of Latin America explores both the evolution and the current state of the political scene in Latin America. Distinguishing itself from more traditional works on Latin American politics, this text demonstrates a nuanced sensitivity to the use and abuse of power and the importance of social conditions, gender, race, and political economy. The first section of the book includes relevant information about the region's geographic setting, history, economics, society, people, and religion, setting the stage for a more detailed analysis of the politics, political movements, and revolution in Latin America. The second part of the book consists of carefully constructed case studies of seven representative Latin American nations: Mexico (Nora Hamilton), Argentina (Aldo C. Vacs), Brazil (Wilber Albert Chaffee), Chile (Eduardo Silva), Guatemala (Susanne Jonas), Nicaragua (Prevost and Vanden), and Cuba (Prevost). Each case study traces the historical development of key political actors and institutions, analyzing contemporary power configurations. Featuring maps, tables, chronologies, and clear indications of key players, the text clarifies background factors and shows students how the political game is played in each country. Each chapter ends with a bibliography that includes useful books, films, videos, and relevant web sites. Politics of Latin America is indispensable for the reader wishing to gain a deeper understanding of this complex, dynamic, and rapidly changing region of the world.

Excerpt

This book is born from a great love and appreciation for Latin America and a fascination with how politics are conducted there. It is designed to convey a contemporary and, we hope, realistic understanding of politics and power in the region and is premised on the belief that politics in Latin America can only be understood after one gains an appreciation for the socioeconomic-historical context in which the political game is played.

Our understanding of the region and its politics is far from complete, but is well informed by the scholars, writers, and teachers who have preceded us. In recognition of those on whose shoulders we stand, we dedicate this book to those professors who showed us the complexities that define politics in the region. Gary Prevost gratefully acknowledges the import of his teacher Gary Wynia and his excellent work, The Politics of Latin American Development. Harry Vanden expresses his profound thanks to those who guided and inspired his study of politics in the region: C. Neale Ronning, John C. Honey, and Mario Hernández Sánchez-Barba. Both authors also gratefully acknowledge the influence of a great many Latin American friends and colleagues and many excellent Latinamericanists from all of the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

We acknowledge the assistance of many people in the preparation of this book, beginning with our colleagues who wrote the country chapters: Wilber Chaffee, Nora Hamilton, Susanne Jonas, Eduardo Silva, and Aldo Vacs. We are indebted to the many scholars who provided helpful commentary on the individual chapters including Mark Amen, Carlos Batista, Dan Buchanan, Robert Buffington, David Close, María Crummett, Ed Nesman, Festus Ohaegbulam, Patrice E. Olsen, Lou Pérez, Eric Selbin, Ofelia Shutte, and Ward Stavig. Thanks are due to Ilene Frank for research and web assistance. We wish to express our appreciation to Dorothea Melcher, who not only read several chapters, but contributed significantly to sections of Chapter 2 on pre-Columbian and colonial history. Likewise, we are deeply indebted to Kwame Dixon for his assistance in the sections on slavery and Afro-Latins in Chapters 3, 4, and 5. We also gratefully acknowledge the editorial assistance of Linda Jarkesy and Lisa Grzan at Oxford University Press.

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