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Authors'Note to the 2002 Edition ______ THE YEARS since the initial publication of Shaping the Political Arena have seen major changes both in the larger scholarly literature in which this study is embedded and also in Latin American politics-the topic of the book.1 Shaping the Political Arena has been part of a lively, expand­ ing research program of comparative-historical analysis. This program builds on evolving conceptions of critical junctures, path dependence, and historical institutionalism. Its methodological tools are, in impor­ tant measure, those of small-N analysis and controlled comparison. Among the many substantive themes that have been analyzed in this tra­ dition, the study of national political regimes has had a central place.2 In the intervening years, it has also become more evident that Latin Ameri­ can politics is, indeed, experiencing the new critical juncture we dis­ cussed at the end of the last chapter. The class coalitions, party systems, and resulting regime dynamics that were our central focus have in im­ portant respects been destabilized. In some countries, they have been su­ perseded entirely. For this new printing of the book, we have not undertaken the Hercu­ lean task of updating the text to respond either to the evolving literature in comparative-historical analysis or to recent developments in Latin American politics. In this Authors' Note we would, however, like to offer some brief comments about the book's central claims. This study was conceived and initially written (if not finally published) when political­ economic and dependency perspectives were influential in research on Latin America. Our purpose was to offer an alternative approach that put greater weight on social and political factors. Specifically, the book ana­ lyzes the critical juncture during which organized labor was initially in­ corporated into thepolitical and legal system. The goal was to explore the impact of party systems on regime dynamics, where the party system is understood as the political institutionalization of class coalitions. These new coalitions were integrally linked to changes in social structure: the I We thank the University of Notre Dame Press for its efforts in reissuing this book, as well as the Kellogg Institute of International Studies at Notre Dame for its support of this initiative. 2 See James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, eds., Comparative Historical Analy­ sis in the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). xiv SHAPING THE POLITICAL ARENA formation of two "new" classes and the move from, schematically, a two­ class society of lord and peasant to a four-class society that also included a proletarian working class and the urban middle sectors. Long books often have the disadvantage of provoking simplistic take­ home messages with which they become identified. In the case of Shaping the Political Arena, these have included: "labor incorporation matters" and "critical junctures are important." Indeed, the proposition that the initial incorporation of the labor movement is a critical juncture that matters is central to our argument. But how does it matter? And for what? Labor incorporation occurs in diverse ways, producing distinctive pat­ terns of reaction and counterreaction. These differences are consequen­ tial for subsequent party structure and regime dynamics: for whether, during the period of new opposition movements and political and eco­ nomic crisis in the 1960s and 1970s, politics was integrative or polar­ izing; for whether countries established, or failed to establish, political institutions and resources that helped to meet the political and eco­ nomic challenges of this period; and for whether, in the end, these politi­ cal systems self-destructed during those decades. The crucial interven­ ing variable is the party system. Three key steps in the argument are as follows.3 • Class Coalitions in the Incorporation Period. The critical juncture of initial labor incorporation centrally involves the construction of new class coalitions that take two basic forms. In some cases an accommo­ dationist alliance produces a modus vivendi among the upper classes and pits them against the lower classes in a sustained effort to control and depoliticize labor organizations Iwith the peasants initially, though unreliably, attached to agrarian elites through clientelistic ties). In other cases a populist alliance links the organized working class (and some­ times the organized peasantry) with the middle sectors, a pattern accompanied by diverse forms of worker mobilization. • Party Heritage. The incorporation period is followed by intense reac­ tions and counter-reactions that fundamentally transform the balance between political mobilization and control that the state had sought to establish in the prior phase. New coalitional relationships emerge...


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