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Political Culture and Institutional Development in Costa Rica and Nicaragua
World Making in the Tropics

£31.99

  • Date Published: October 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521120401

£ 31.99
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About the Authors
  • Democracy's checkered past and uncertain future in the developing world still puzzles and fascinates. In Latin America, attempts to construct resilient democracies have been as pervasive as reversals have been cruel. This book is based on a wealth of original historical documents and contemporary interviews with prominent political actors and analyses five centuries of political history in these paradigmatic cases of outstanding democratic success and abysmal failure. It shows that while factors highlighted by standard explanations matter, it is political culture that configures economic development, institutional choices and political pacts in ways that directly affect both democracy's chances and its quality. But it also claims that political culture is a dynamic combination of rational and normative imperatives that define actors' views of the permissible, shape their sense of realism, structure political struggles and legitimate the resulting distribution of power.

    • Advances a theory of political culture that is broadly applicable, and should be of interest to all scholars of comparative politics
    • Rigorously tests the theory against alternative explanations in two 'most different' cases, Costa Rica and Nicaragua
    • Provides an unusually colourful and rich, readable narrative of these countries' political cultural development
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521120401
    • length: 304 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Theoretical overview
    2. Manichean identities and normative scheming: origins
    3. Orphans of Empire: constructing national identities
    4. Post-colonial paths: rhetorical strategies and frames
    5. Costa Rica: possibility mongers
    6. Nicaragua: hybrid arbitration
    7. Tropical histories: paradise and Hell on Earth
    8. Transition: familiar novelties.

  • Author

    Consuelo Cruz, Tufts University, Massachusetts

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