An array of internationally noted scholars examines the process of democratization in southern Europe and Latin America. They provide new interpretations of both current and historical efforts of nations to end periods of authoritarian rule and to initiate transition to democracy, efforts that have met with widely varying degrees of success and failure. Extensive case studies of individual countries, a comparative overview, and a synthesis conclusions offer important insights for political scientists, students, and all concerned with the prospects for democracy.Southern EuropeThe historical example of Italy after Mussolini as well as the more recent cases of Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey suggest factors that may make a transition relatively secure.Latin AmericaDemocratization is perhaps the central issue in Latin American politics today. Case studies focus on Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.Comparative PerspectivesDespite the unique contexts of transitions in individual countries, significant points of comparison emerge - such as the influence of foreign nations and the role of agents outside the government.
These analyses explore both intra- and interregional similarities and differences. Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies Political democracy is not the only possible outcome of transitions from authoritarianism. Guillermo O'Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter draw out the implications of democracy as a goal and of the uncertainty inherent in transitional situations.
The essays appearing in the collection Transitions from Authoritarian rule... will serve as reference points for students of redemocratization for years to come. Other essays will serve as classic case studies... the volumes deserve to be read time and again. -- Nancy Bermeo * Comparative Politics *