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Criminality, Public Security, and the Challenge to Democracy in Latin America

Edited by Marcelo Bergman and Laurence Whitehead

As new democratic regimes take root in Latin America, two of the most striking developments have been a dramatic rise in crime rates and increased perception of insecurity among its citizens. The contributors to this book offer a collective assessment of some of the causes for the alarming rise in criminal activity in the region. They also explore the institutional obstacles that states confront in the effort to curb criminality and build a fairer and more efficient criminal justice system; the connections between those obstacles and larger sociopolitical patterns; and the challenges that those patterns present for the consolidation of democracy in the region. The chapters offer both close studies of restricted regions in Latin America and broader examinations of the region as a whole. The contributors to this volume are prominent scholars and specialists on the issue of citizen security. They draw on the latest methodologies and theoretical approaches to examine the question of how crime and crime fighting impact the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in the region. These studies represent a major first step towards evaluating broadly a relative dearth of hard data about the Latin American security situation, as well as identifying future research paths. This book will be important for scholars, policy makers, and students, especially in the fields of Latin American and comparative law, political science, sociology, and criminology.

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Dangerous Liaisons

Organized Crime and Political Finance in Latin America and Beyond

edited by Kevin Casas-Zamora

The relationship between criminal syndicates and politicians has a long history, including episodes even from the earliest years of America's colonies. But while organized crime may not get the headlines it once did in North America, the resurgence of such criminal activity in Latin America, and in some European nations, has grabbed the public's attention.

In Dangerous Liaisons noted scholars describe and analyze the role of organized crime in the financing of politics in selected democracies in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico) and in Europe (Bulgaria and Italy). The book seeks to unravel the myths that have developed around crime in these locales, while providing facts and informing the debate on how organized crime corrupts democratic institutions, especially in relation to the funding of political parties and their activities.

Among the subjects studied in detail are the role of organized crime in political finance through the lens of Argentina's presidential campaigns of 1999 and 2007; Brazil's elected officeholders and their role in corruption; the weakness of Colombia's democracy; the growing role of money in Costa Rica's politics; the destructive effects of drug money on Mexican institutions; the link between organized crime —narrowly and broadly understood —and political financing in Bulgaria; and crime and political finance in Italy.

The work of the scholars corrects what volume editor Kevin Casas-Zamora calls "a glaring gap in the literature on the role of organized crime in the corruption of democratic institutions." That is, the funding of political parties and their activities —which in these cases are mostly election campaigns. The chapters not only present the evidence but also can be regarded as a call to action.

Contributors include Leonardo Curzio (CISAN/UNAM), Donatella della Porta (European University Institute), Delia Ferreira Rubio (a member of the international board of directors of Transparency International), Mauricio Rubio (a researcher at the External University of Colombia), Daniel Smilov (Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia), Bruno Wilhelm Speck (University of Campinas), and Alberto Vannucci (University of Pisa).

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Decentralization, Democratization, and Informal Power in Mexico

Andrew Selee

In the last two decades of the twentieth century, many countries in Latin America freed themselves from the burden of their authoritarian pasts and developed democratic political systems. At the same time, they began a process of shifting many governmental responsibilities from the national to the state and local levels. Much has been written about how decentralization has fostered democratization, but informal power relationships inherited from the past have complicated the ways in which citizens voice their concerns and have undermined the accountability of elected officials. In this book, Andrew Selee seeks to illuminate the complex linkages between informal and formal power by comparing how they worked in three Mexican cities. The process of decentralization is shown to have been intermediated by existing spheres of political influence, which in turn helped determine how much the institution of multiparty democracy in the country could succeed in bringing democracy “closer to home.”

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Deepening Local Democracy in Latin America

Participation, Decentralization, and the Left

Benjamin Goldfrank

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Defect or Defend

Military Responses to Popular Protests in Authoritarian Asia

Terence Lee

Although social movements and media can help destabilize authoritarian governments, not all social protest is effective or culminates in the toppling of dictatorships. Frequently, the military’s response determines the outcome. In Defect or Defend, Terence Lee uses four case studies from Asia to provide insight into the military’s role during the transitional phase of regime change. Lee compares popular uprisings in the Philippines and Indonesia—both of which successfully engaged military support to bring down authoritarian rule—with protest movements in China and Burma which were violently suppressed by military forces. Lee’s theory of “high personalism” and power-sharing among the armed forces leadership provides a framework for understanding the critical transitory phases of democratization. He uses this theory to review and assess Eastern Europe’s democratization events in 1989, the Colored Revolutions of the early 2000s, and the protests and revolutions unfolding in the Middle East. This book will appeal to students and scholars of comparative politics, Asian studies, security studies, and international relations, as well as defense policymakers.

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Defending Democracy

Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe

Giovanni Capoccia

How does a democracy deal with threats to its stability and continued existence when those threats come from political parties that play the democratic game? In Defending Democracy, political scientist Giovanni Capoccia studies key European nations between World Wars I and II which survived such democratic crises. A comprehensive and thoughtful historical analysis of the democracies of interwar Europe, Defending Democracy provides a unique perspective on the many lessons to be learned from their successes and failures. With this exclusively empirical investigative approach, Capoccia develops a methodology for analyzing contemporary democracies—such as Algeria, Turkey, Israel, and others—where similar political conditions are present. Given the rise of terrorism and the persistence of extremism in both established and new democracies today, continued research and dialogue on the defense of democracy are necessary for its preservation.

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Democracy and Elections in Africa

Staffan I. Lindberg

This volume studies elections as a core institution of liberal democracy in the context of newly democratizing countries. Political scientist Staffan I. Lindberg gathers data from every nationally contested election in Africa from 1989 to 2003, covering 232 elections in 44 countries. He argues that democratizing nations learn to become democratic through repeated democratic behavior, even if their elections are often flawed. Refuting a number of established hypotheses, Lindberg finds no general negative trend in either the frequency or the quality of African elections. Rather, elections in Africa, based on his findings, are more than just the goal of a transition toward democracy or merely a formal procedure. The inception of multiparty elections usually initiates liberalization, and repeated electoral activities create incentives for political actors, fostering the expansion and deepening of democratic values. In addition to improving the democratic qualities of political regimes, a sequence of elections tends to expand and solidify de facto civil liberties in society. Drawing on a wealth of data, Lindberg makes the case that repetitive elections are an important causal factor in the development of democracy. He thus extends Rustow's (1970) theory that democratic behavior produces democratic values.

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Democracy and the Rise of Women's Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kathleen M. Fallon

Despite a late and fitful start, democracy in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe has recently shown promising growth. Kathleen M. Fallon discusses the role of women and women's advocacy groups in furthering the democratic transformation of formerly autocratic states. Using Ghana as a case study, Fallon examines the specific processes women are using to bring about political change. She assesses information gathered from interviews and surveys conducted in Ghana and assays the existing literature to provide a focused look at how women have become involved in the democratization of sub-Saharan nations. The narrative traces the history of democratic institutions in the region—from the imposition of male-dominated mechanisms by western states to latter-day reforms that reflect the active resurgence of women’s political power within many African cultures—to show how women have made significant recent political gains in Ghana and other emerging democracies. Fallon attributes these advances to a combination of forces, including the decline of the authoritarian state and its attendant state-run women's organizations, newly formed constitutions, and newfound access to good-governance funding. She draws the study into the larger debate over gendered networks and democratic reform by exploring how gender roles affect and are affected by the state in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. In demonstrating how women’s activism is evolving with and shaping democratization across the region, Democracy and the Rise of Women’s Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa reveals how women’s social movements are challenging the barriers created by colonization and dictatorships in Africa and beyond.

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Democracy Delayed

The Case of Castro's Cuba

Juan J. López

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, foreign policy analysts and international relations scholars expected communist Cuba to undergo transitions to democracy and to markets as had the Eastern European nations of the former Soviet bloc. But more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Castro remains in power, with no sign that the Cuban government or economy is moving toward liberalization. In Democracy Delayed, political scientist Juan López offers a searching and detailed analysis of the factors behind Cuba's failure to liberalize. López begins by comparing the political systems of three Eastern European states—the former German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, and Romania—with that of Cuba, in order to identify the differences that have allowed Castro to maintain his hold over the government and the economy. López also shows the various conditions promoting change, including the development of civil society groups in Cuba, and discusses why some U.S. policies help the possibility of democratization in Cuba while others hinder it. While the Catholic Church in Poland and the Protestant Church in East Germany fostered change, the Catholic Church in Cuba has not taken a defiant stance against authoritarianism but seems instead to be biding its time until Castro is out of the picture. In conclusion, López argues that a political transition in Cuba is possible even under the government of Fidel Castro. Some necessary conditions have been missing, but it is possible that U.S. policies could lay the groundwork for democratic charge.

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Democracy Disrupted

The Politics of Global Protest

By Ivan Krastev

Since the financial meltdown of 2008, political protests have spread around the world like chain lightning, from the "Occupy" movements of the United States, Great Britain, and Spain to more destabilizing forms of unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Ukraine. In Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest, journalist and political scientist Ivan Krastev proposes a provocative interpretation of these popular uprisings—one with ominous implications for the future of democratic politics.

Challenging theories that trace the protests to the rise of a global middle class, Krastev proposes that the insurrections express a pervasive distrust of democratic institutions. Protesters on the streets of Moscow, Sofia, Istanbul, and São Paulo are openly suspicious of both the market and the state. They reject established political parties, question the motives of the mainstream media, refuse to recognize the legitimacy of any specific leadership, and reject all formal organizations. They have made clear what they don't want—the status quo—but they have no positive vision of an alternative future.

Welcome to the worldwide libertarian revolution, in which democracy is endlessly disrupted to no end beyond the disruption itself.

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