Poverty of Democracy
The Institutional Roots of Political Participation in Mexico
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
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I became interested in the poor’s political participation when I was a senior in college studying Latin American politics. Between 1982 and 1990 almost all countries in the region abandoned authoritarianism in favor of multiparty democracies, democracies that almost universally implemented strict austerity programs and structural reforms designed to shrink the state’s role...
1. The Return of Institutions: Political Opportunities and Participation
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Mexico’s political system was once hailed as the “perfect dictatorship,” characterized by regular elections, widespread legitimacy, and uninterrupted rule by the same political party (the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI) for seventy years. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Mexico’s brand of authoritarianism was its relative openness to political activity from...
2. Toward an Institutional Theory of Political Participation
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Since the late 1980s, citizens of Mexico have lived through a period of extraordinary political, social, and economic transformations. Politically they have witnessed the fall from power of the world’s longest-ruling party, a transition to a multiparty democracy, and a newly vibrant political arena that offers them many innovative ways to express their opinions at the...
3. Neoliberal Reforms, the State, and Opportunities for Political Participation
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One of the difficulties of developing and applying an institutional framework is identifying which institutions matter most for citizen political activism. This problem is particularly acute in the case of Mexico because so much changed between 1990 and 2000. Reforms that opened the political system will certainly impact people’s political activity, but it is much less...
4. Political Institutions, Engagement, and Participation
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Listening to people talk about their experiences with new economic policies implemented during the 1990s gives us insight into how institutional changes linked to neoliberal reforms influenced their ability and desire to participate in politics. New policies and different state-society relationships suppressed the political activity of the poor by decreasing their capacity to...
5. Uneven and Incomplete Democratization in Mexico
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While neoliberal reforms had powerful effects on the political attitudes and activity of the poor, depressing their political involvement to levels much lower than that of other groups, the shift away from an ISI development model was only half of the massive institutional changes experienced by Mexican citizens during the decade. The transition from a one-party...
6. Democratization, Political Competition, and Political Participation
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Most accounts of Mexico’s democratic transition emphasize its gradualism, suggesting perhaps that ordinary Mexicans had sufficient time to adapt their behavior to the emerging institutional context. However, the evolution of political competition in Mexico (in Oaxaca in particular) reveals that the transition to democracy was full of inconsistencies and paradoxes. For...
7. Political Equality and Democracy in Mexico
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Whether in Chile’s exclusionary military regime or Mexico’s one-party electoral dictatorship, growing citizen political activism was a crucial factor in weakening authoritarian governments and ushering in democratic transitions throughout the 1980s and 1990s across Latin America. Both the rich and poor, college graduates and the uneducated, joined in...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: Pitt Latin American Series
Series Editor Byline: John Charles Chasteen and Catherine M. Conaghan, Editors