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  • Author: Peter M. Siavelis
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article analyzes the challenges to democratic representa- tion in contemporary Chile, with an institutional focus. I argue that the post-authoritarian model of politics was deeply constrained by institu- tions and practices inherited by democratic authorities and reinforced by the model of transitional politics and its series of informal institutions, which first facilitated, but then hindered democratic performance. While this does not point to a regime-threatening crisis, there are deep chal- lenges to representation and a desire for a different model of politics that is more capable of resolving conflicts and satisfying citizen demands. I posit that, until now, Chile’s formal and informal institutions have privi- leged stability over representation, accountability, and legitimacy. Conse- quently, it has fallen to social movements to set the agenda for change aimed at addressing Chile’s deeper problems of political and social ine- quality. I argue that institutional reforms are a necessary, yet insufficient, antidote to current challenges of representation.
  • Topic: Democracy, Representation, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Emmanuelle Barozet, Vicente Espinoza
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: n this article, we analyze the impact that the evolution of the middle classes has had on political representation in Chile. Based on a description of the transformations of Chilean social structure in recent decades, we review the conceptual frameworks available on the subject, from modernization theories and the rise of new masses – particularly the one that “emerged” from poverty – to the forming of new critical citizens. We state that the heterogeneity of Chilean middle classes has challenged the discredited representation system. We observe more effi- cient representation channels developing for medium-high-income, edu- cated, and consolidated sectors in contrast to new social policy demands from emerging and vulnerable sectors, focusing more on consolidating their economic status than on improving representation channels.
  • Topic: Democracy, Representation, Middle Class
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Kenneth M. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: For 20 years following the 1989–1990 democratic transition, Chilean politics was characterized by stable forms of party-based political representation, relatively low levels of social mobilization, and a techno- cratic consensus around a neoliberal development model that generated rapid and sustained, albeit highly unequal, patterns of economic growth. This sociopolitical matrix was challenged, however, when hundreds of thousands of students and their supporters took to the streets to protest against educational inequalities, while smaller numbers of protestors mobilized around a plethora of other labor, environmental, and indige- nous rights claims. This wave of social protest occurred in a context of growing detachment of Chilean citizens from traditional parties and representative institutions, and it punctured the aura of inevitability and consensus that surrounded the country’s economic model. The ground- swell of popular protest signified the end of a posttransition political era in Chile and the dawning of a new one defined by the repoliticization of social and economic inequalities, including vigorous debates about the social pillars of the neoliberal model and the reach of social citizenship rights. The Chilean case sheds new light on the processes by which ine- qualities come to be politicized or depoliticized in different structural, institutional, and ideational contexts.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Inequality, Citizenship, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Luis Leandro Schenoni
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Within the last 50 years, the Brazilian share of South American power has increased from one‐third to one‐half of the overall material capabilities in the region. Such a significant change in the regional power structure cannot have gone unnoticed by Brazil's neighbors. The article addresses the main question related to South American unipolarity (1985–2014): Why have most countries in the region not implemented any consistent balancing or bandwagoning strategies vis‐à‐vis Brazil? Drawing on neoclassical realism, the article proposes that certain domestic variables – government instability, limited party‐system institutionalization, and powerful presidents – have diverted the attention of political elites and foreign policy executives from the challenges generated by a rising Brazil. Crisp‐set qualitative comparative analysis is used to test this hypothesis and other alternative explanations for the regional imbalance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Brian Wampler, Michael Touchton
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Civil society has exploded in Latin America as democratization has continued over the last 30 years. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are thought to improve governance and oversight and to increase social capital. Nonetheless, we have limited knowledge about what motivates CSOs’ politi- cal strategies, which include participating in formal political institutions, attending demonstrations, and providing services. We build knowledge here by evaluating data from a unique survey of nine hundred CSOs across seven Brazilian cities. Our findings showcase several parallel processes: poorer CSOs continue to rely on the state and actively participate in political pro- cesses despite protesting at greater rates than wealthier CSOs; therefore, we contend that institutional and political process arguments better explain poorer CSOs’ behavior. We also argue that relatively wealthy CSOs’ disen- gagement reflects greater resource mobilization, more professionalization, and an increase in social capital. Our results show that multilayered explana- tions improve our understanding of CSO behavior and state-society rela- tions in Brazil and Latin America.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Inequality, Social Capital
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Matthew S. Winters, Rebecca Wietz-Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In long-standing democracies, the partisan attachments of most citi- zens are stable and not responsive to short-term political events. Recent studies from younger democracies, however, suggest that partisanship may be more malleable in these contexts. In this paper we develop hypotheses about how political corruption might affect voter attachment to the parties of corrupt offi- cials or to the party system as a whole. Using data from an original survey exper- iment in Brazil, we show that prompts about political corruption shift patterns of partisan attachment for highly educated respondents – specifically, that cor- ruption associated with one political party reduces nonpartisanship and signifi- cantly increases identification with other political parties. In contrast, we find that information on corruption has no consistent measurable effect on partisan- ship for less educated respondents. We conclude by discussing the implications of malleable partisanship for democratic accountability.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democracy, Accountability, Participation
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: James David Bowen
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that rather than theorize state building and democracy separately, we should direct our attention to studying the dual construction of democratic states. To do so, we must understand the contradictory relationship between the concentration of power needed to build state institutions and the constraints on this power dictated by the norms of liberal democracy. I present an outline for studying state build- ing and democratic governance and illustrate my argument with a study of Ecuador. I argue that stable democracy must rest on three pillars: effective state institutions, the autonomy of these institutions from other powerful actors, and the existence of meaningful institutions of account- ability. The challenge is that efforts to strengthen one or more of these pillars are likely to undermine the others. I argue that Ecuador, particu- larly under the Correa administration, has experienced substantial achievements in the area of institution building, has a mixed record with regards to autonomy, and offers little in the way of accountability.
  • Topic: Governance, Democracy, Accountability, State Building, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Ecuador
  • Author: Joel W. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that perceptions of corruption in Latin America exhibit predictable fluctuations in the wake of presidential turn- over. Specifically, presidential elections that result in the partisan transfer of power are normally followed by a surge-and-decline pattern in per- ceived corruption control, with initial improvements that fade with time. The causes are multiple and stem from the removal of corrupt admin- istrations, public enthusiasm about administrative change, and the rela- tive lack of high-level corruption scandals in the early phases of new governments. A statistical analysis of two widely used corruption percep- tions indices demonstrates the pattern for eighteen Latin American de- mocracies from 1996 to 2010. Both indices exhibit a temporary surge (of about two years) after turnover elections, while no such change follows reelections of incumbent presidents or parties. The theory and results are relevant for understanding public opinion in Latin America and for the analysis of corruption perceptions indices.
  • Topic: Corruption, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: . Arnaldo Mauerberg Jr, Carlos Pereira, Ciro Biderman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: n recent years, four approaches about executive–legislative relations in Brazil have emerged: i) the perspective that points out limita- tions and constraints of multiparty presidential systems; ii) the building of government coalitions; iii) coalition management; and iv) the role played by institutions including the prerogatives of party leadership in- side the House. In this paper, we review the literature on these ap- proaches, offering a guide for studies about the Brazilian multiparty pres- idential system.
  • Topic: Governance, Elections, Democracy, State Building
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Sara Niedzwiecki
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the effect of organized labor on social policy commitment in Latin America. Contrary to the idea that unions are not expected to be major promoters of social state development due to being weakened by dictatorship and structural adjustment, I argue for the incorporation of this variable in statistical analysis of social spending. Through pooled time-series regressions of 10 South American countries from 1980 to 2010, this paper finds that union strength has a statistically significant and positive effect on social spending. This analysis also confirms that democracy and the concentration of power in the exec- utive all have a significant effect with regard to predicting changes in the levels of social spending.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Unions, Organized Labor, Social Spending
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Samuel Handlin
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: NGOs have proliferated in the developing world, assuming key political roles as intermediary organizations representing public in- terests. Yet at least in the three Latin American countries examined here, the proportion of the NGO sector focused on postmaterial issues mas- sively outpaces the proportion of the mass public that considers these issues highly salient. This article demonstrates this “postmaterial disjunc- ture” and theorizes that international donors help drive it by favoring NGOs that pursue postmaterial issues. This hypothesis is evaluated by analyzing a unique dataset containing information on over 700 NGOs. Organizations pursuing postmaterial issues are more than three times likely to receive international funding than are otherwise identical NGOs pursuing material issues. While international donors may be well inten- tioned, their postmaterial agendas shape the issue orientation of the NGO sector, resulting in potentially adverse consequences for its ability to effectively represent mass interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid, NGOs, Donors
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Ryan Salzman
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: News media are an important factor in any democratic society. Research focused on developed democracies has paved the way for anal- ysis in the context of less well-developed democracies. The project en- deavors to continue that investigation into whether and how news media consumption affects democratic behavior among individuals in a region comprised of developing democracies: Latin America. Employing rich survey data available from the 2008 Latin American Public Opinion Project, traditional analyses are used to test one of the most basic ques- tions for political communication researchers: Does news media con- sumption motivate or depress political participation? The results indicate that, on average, news media mobilize political participation, albeit to different degrees per medium and participation type. This seems to hap- pen because those media socialize Latin Americans to value political participation.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Elections, Democracy, Media, Participation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Joseph Pozsgai Alvarez
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of the past decade, the tolerance of cor- ruption by citizens of most Latin American countries has become a con- cept in its own right within the broader study of corruption. This con- struct, however, lacks a systematic approach and is yet to account for specific types of corruption tolerance or identify appropriate indicators to measure them. The present study addresses these voids by analyzing data provided by LAPOP’s AmericasBarometer 2006 for Peru (a typical case for the incidence of bribery in Latin America) and the Global Cor- ruption Barometer against a carefully constructed framework for the understanding of the phenomenon of corruption tolerance. The results indicate that attitudes toward specific types of low-level corruption should not be equated to citizens’ decisions to engage in such behavior. They further suggest that the study of corruption tolerance has the po- tential to greatly improve our understanding of the determinants of cor- ruption in developing countries.
  • Topic: Corruption, Developing World, Accountability
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Uwe Serdult, Yanina Welp
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Focusing on the relatively longstanding experience of neigh- borhood councils in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo (1993–), this research note seeks to analyze how sustainable democratic innovation is and to explain subsequent results. Sustainability is assessed through the evolution of citizens’ participation in elections and through the number of candidates who apply to become neighborhood councilors. For both indicators, a consistent decline in the levels of participation over time is found. This is deemed to be a consequence of an institutional design that seriously limits the performance of neighborhood councils in terms of their influence in the decision-making process and their acquisition of legitimacy and political capital.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Citizenship, Legitimacy, Local
  • Political Geography: South America, Uruguay, Latin America
  • Author: Mason W. Moseley
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Why has protest participation seemingly exploded across much of Latin America in recent years? How do individual- and country- level characteristics interact to explain the rise of contentious politics in countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela? I contend that the recent wave of protests in Latin America is the result of trends in community engagement and institutional development across the region’s young democracies. Specifically, I argue that low-quality institutions in demo- cratic regimes push an increasingly large number of civically active Latin Americans toward more radical modes of political participation, as gov- ernments’ abilities to deliver on citizens’ expectations fail to match the capacity for mobilization of active democrats. Drawing on cross-national surveys of Latin America, I test this argument, finding that an interactive relationship between community engagement and ineffective political institutions helps explain the recent spike in protest activity in certain cases and the vast differences in protest participation observed through- out the region.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Democracy, Protests, Participation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Peter M.M. Cummings
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Objective indicators suggest that economic and political con- ditions improved in Chile between the country’s democratization in 1990 and 2011. Average incomes increased, poverty rates decreased, and the number of positive reviews of Chilean democratic institutions rose. De- spite this progress, massive student-led protest waves in 2006 and 2011 demonstrated high levels of subjective discontent in Chile. This paper proposes a three-part explanation for the paradoxical emergence and escalation of the post-Pinochet-era Chilean student protests, and, in so doing, contributes to the broader understanding of social movements and political action. The first two parts of the argument relate to genera- tional change. Firstly, a gap between expectations and capabilities pro- voked discontent amongst a new generation of Chilean students. Sec- ondly, the new generation’s collective identity as “la generación sin miedo” (the fearless generation) motivated the students to turn discontent into political action. Thirdly, government and student actor agency influenced the variance in protest strength between 2005 and 2011.
  • Topic: Democracy, Protests, State Building, Students
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Sarah Berens
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This study investigates the extent to which labor market duali- zation polarizes preferences on redistribution between formal and in- formal sector workers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Differences in welfare state costs and benefits for these labor market groups are likely to fuel diverging incentives regarding welfare consumption. The article tests whether or not informal workers are driven mainly by eco- nomic self-interest to increase gains from public welfare goods. The study employed a hierarchical model on pooled survey data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) 2008 and 2010 to analyze the risk exposure of formal and informal workers and, subse- quently, their preferences on redistribution. The analysis reveals that while economic self-interest is an influential factor for formal workers, it is (unexpectedly) much less so for informal workers. Also, an increased economically insecure environment, reflected by high unemployment rates, does not motivate informal workers to an exceptional degree to turn towards the state for redistribution, despite greater exposure to economic risk. Labor market dualization does not translate into polariza- tion at the individual level regarding redistributive preferences in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Topic: Inequality, Welfare, Labor Market, Redistribution
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Jorge M. Battaglino
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In recent years, South America has witnessed a large increase in arms purchases. Nonetheless, there are important intraregional differences in terms of the allocation of resources for weapons acquisitions. How can we account for these disparities? Mainstream literature suggests that levels of arms importation depend on either the size of the defense budget or the perception of threat. In contrast, this article contends that the level of spending on arms is mainly determined by: (a) the expansive or nonexpansive nature of the strategic assessment of defense, (b) the available resources allocated by the defense budget, and (c) the level of political attention to defense issues. Thus, the aim of this article is to account for and assess the determinants of the different levels of arms importation in South America from 2000 to 2011.
  • Political Geography: South America, Oman
  • Author: Daniel Flemes, Leslie Wehner
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The politics of contestation on the part of secondary regional powers such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela towards Brazil as the regional leader oscillate between competition and cooperation, inasmuch as the South American region has one regional power and is a zone of negative peace without aggressive rivalries. The secondary powers use different tactics, which constitute their respective foreign policy strategies, to soft balance Brazil. These tactics include alliance building, entangling diplomacy, binding, and omni‐enmeshment. This paper identifies, first, the specific drivers of contestation towards Brazil and, second, why the secondary powers' foreign policy strategies vary in how they directly or indirectly contest the rise of Brazil at the regional and international levels. The paper demonstrates that in a regional order such as that of South America, which is characterized by relative stability, domestic drivers of contestation are key to explaining secondary powers' varied strategic responses to the regional power.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, South America
  • Author: Kevin Funk
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The books under review all deal with the same fundamental phenomenon: mobilization against neoliberal policies by South American indigenous groups. These works fall into two groups: those that focus on the Mapuche struggle in Chile, and those that consider anti-neoliberal indigenous mobilization in the region more broadly. Just as literature in the former group fails to draw any linkages between the Mapuche and other South American indigenous struggles, the latter body of literature does not engage with Chile as a case worthy of consideration. This essay delineates the arguments made by scholars from both groups and argues that they must be brought into dialogue with one another in order to develop both a more holistic conceptualization of the Mapuche struggle in Chile and a more complete understanding of indigenous mobilization in the region. Further empirical work is needed on how Mapuche mobilization relates to other indigenous, anti-neoliberal mobilizations in South America.
  • Political Geography: South America, Chile