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Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America - Leonardo Avritzer

Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America

Paperback Published: 21st April 2002
ISBN: 9780691090887
Number Of Pages: 208

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This is a bold new study of the recent emergence of democracy in Latin America. Leonardo Avritzer shows that traditional theories of democratization fall short in explaining this phenomenon. Scholars have long held that the postwar stability of Western Europe reveals that restricted democracy, or "democratic elitism," is the only realistic way to guard against forces such as the mass mobilizations that toppled European democracies after World War I. Avritzer challenges this view. Drawing on the ideas of Jurgen Habermas, he argues that democracy can be far more inclusive and can rely on a sphere of autonomous association and argument by citizens. He makes this argument by showing that democratic collective action has opened up a new "public space" for popular participation in Latin American politics.

Unlike many theorists, Avritzer builds his case empirically. He looks at human rights movements in Argentina and Brazil, neighborhood associations in Brazil and Mexico, and election-monitoring initiatives in Mexico. Contending that such participation has not gone far enough, he proposes a way to involve citizens even more directly in policy decisions. For example, he points to experiments in "participatory budgeting" in two Brazilian cities. Ultimately, the concept of such a space beyond the reach of state administration fosters a broader view of democratic possibility, of the cultural transformation that spurred it, and of the tensions that persist, in a region where democracy is both new and different from the Old World models.

"Leonardo Avritzer has written the most ambitious and important contribution to the literature on democratization in Latin America that this reviewer has read in the last several years... [E]xemplary of the best of contemporary political science writing."--William M. Nylen, Latin American Politics & Society "Leonardo Avritzer has written the most ambitious and important contribution to the literature on democratization in Latin America that this reviewer has read in the last several years... [A] fine example of social science scholarship."--William M. Nylen, Latin American Politics and Society

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Introductionp. 3
Democratic Theory and Democratizationp. 11
Democratic Theory and the Formation of a Public Spherep. 36
Democracy and the Latin American Taditionp. 55
The Transformation of the Latin American Public Spacep. 77
Democratization in Latin America
The Conflict between Public Practices and the Logic of Political Societyp. 103
Participatory Publics in Brazil and Mexico
The Compatibility of Public Deliberation and Complex Administrationp. 135
Concluding Remarks on the Democratizing Role of Participatory Publicsp. 165
Notesp. 171
Referencesp. 185
Indexp. 199
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691090887
ISBN-10: 0691090882
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 21st April 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.52 x 15.7  x 1.32
Weight (kg): 0.03