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The Resurgence of the Latin American Left

Paperback
, 496 pages

15 figures

ISBN:
9781421401102
October 2013
$35.00

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The Resurgence of the Latin American Left

Latin America experienced an unprecedented wave of left-leaning governments between 1998 and 2010. This volume examines the causes of this leftward turn and the consequences it carries for the region in the twenty-first century.

The Resurgence of the Latin American Left asks three central questions: Why have left-wing parties and candidates flourished in Latin America? How have these leftist parties governed, particularly in terms of social and economic policy? What effects has the rise of the Left had on democracy and development in the region? The book addresses these questions through two sections. The first looks at several major themes regarding the contemporary Latin American Left, including whether Latin American public opinion actually shifted leftward in the 2000s, why the Left won in some countries but not in others, and how the left turn has affected market economies, social welfare, popular participation in politics, and citizenship rights. The second section examines social and economic policy and regime trajectories in eight cases: those of leftist governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as that of a historically populist party that governed on the right in Peru.

Featuring a new typology of Left parties in Latin America, an original framework for identifying and categorizing variation among these governments, and contributions from prominent and influential scholars of Latin American politics, this historical-institutional approach to understanding the region’s left turn—and variation within it—is the most comprehensive explanation to date on the topic.

Steven Levitsky is a professor of government at Harvard University. He is the coauthor of Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War, author of Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America, and coeditor of Informal Institutions and Democracy, the last also published by Johns Hopkins. Kenneth M. Roberts is a professor of government at Cornell University, the author of Deepening Democracy?, and the coeditor of Beyond Neoliberalism in Latin America.

"The Levitsky/Roberts work, nonetheless, will stand as the most comprehensive treatment to date of the re-emergence of the Latin American left, and of the variable performance in office of the 'first generation' of left and centre-left governments."

"A must read for those interested in understanding the return of Latin America to the Left and the variation inherent in it."

"Impressive and authoritative... this is a very fine volume."

"A wide range of ideological perspectives... Levitsky and Roberts open the volume with a solid essay."