Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Violent Democracies in Latin America

Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Violent Democracies in Latin America

Article excerpt

VIOLENT DEMOCRACIES IN LATIN AMERICA

Enrique Desmond Arias and Daniel M. Goldstein

(Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2010), 335 pages.

Political scientist Enrique Desmond Arias and anthropologist Daniel Goldstein have compiled a rich collection of perspectives that take a closer look at the relationship between the rise of democracy and violence. Composed of essays representing both bottom-up and top-down analyses, policymakers, Latin Americanists, and those who are simply interested in this region will find Violent Democracies in Latin America a refreshing departure from idealistic concepts for building democracies. The essays explicate upon the editors' thesis that the pluralistic and multifaceted nature of violence within Latin American democratic institutions is not a systemic failure that can be simply benchmarked against a Western ideal but is instead an intrinsic element for nations transitioning to democracy. Specific events in various countries, from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean to Uruguay in South America, are studied and highlighted to enrich this view with objective material beyond abstractions. …

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