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Radical Democracy in the Andes


  • Date Published: November 2008
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521515580

£ 47.99

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About the Authors
  • After a decade in local office, are indigenous peoples' governments in the Andes fulfilling their promise to provide a more participatory, accountable, and deliberative form of democracy? Using current debates in democratic theory as a framework, Donna Lee Van Cott examines 10 examples of institutional innovation by indigenous party-controlled municipalities in Bolivia and Ecuador. In contrast to studies emphasizing the role of individuals and civil society, the findings underscore the contributions of leadership and political parties to promoting participation and deliberation - even at the local level. Democratic quality is more likely to improve where local actors initiate and design institutions. Van Cott concludes that indigenous parties' innovations have improved democratic quality in some respects, but that authoritarian tendencies endemic to Andean cultures and political organizations have limited their positive impact.

    • Includes intensive case studies of institutional reform in 10 municipalities in two countries
    • Surveys the contemporary literature on 'radical democracy' for a collegiate-level audience and includes review questions in each chapter
    • Provides suggestions for policymakers and development professionals with respect to promoting democratic development
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In recent years, reforms that are designed to expand the participatory and deliberative quality of democracy have received growing attention from political scientists. Whereas to date the comparative politics literature has focused closely on the path-breaking experience of Porto Alegre in Brazil, Van Cott's book leads the way in showing how these reforms can and should be studied in other contexts. Based on field research in ten different municipalities in Bolivia and Ecuador, Van Cott documents the promise and perils of 'radical democracy' as it is understood and pursued by indigenous political actors. The chief conceptual contribution of the book is to document and interpret what is unique about the attempt by indigenous Latin Americans to institute the same kinds of reforms that are now being introduced throughout the developing world (and often in developed country contexts as well).' Kent Eaton, University of California, Santa Cruz

    'Radical Democracy in the Andes is a comparative politics tour de force. This is perhaps the best and most comprehensive volume to date at assessing the translation of the recent Andean indigenous rights movements into local governance. It fills a gaping lacuna by unifying otherwise disparate literatures on democratic consolidation in the dynamic polities of Bolivia and Ecuador, and the broader 'malaise of Latin American democracy' literature. Radical Democracy is a must read, based on its originality, thoroughness, lucid writing, and well-conceived challenges to conventional wisdoms in both its methodological approach and its empirical exploration.' Todd A. Eisenstadt, American University

    'Donna Lee Van Cott has long established herself as a pioneer and a leading figure in the study of indigenous peoples' movements and parties in Latin America. In this ambitious new book, she examines the degree to which local governments headed by indigenous peoples have succeeded in deepening democracy in Bolivia and Ecuador. Her book is a valuable contribution to debates about the quality of democracy, indigenous politics, participation and representation, and the importance of political leadership and parties.' Scott Mainwaring, University of Notre Dame

    '… an indispensable book for political and social scientists interested in indigenous people and politics. Donna Lee Van Cott was a leading scholar in the field of indigenous people and politics. Her death in 2009 is an enormous loss for political and social sciences.' Elisabet Dueholm Rasch, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521515580
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 9 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the political and cultural origins of democratic institutional innovation
    2. The legal and political context for municipal reform in Bolivia and Ecuador
    3. Mayoral leadership and democratic institutional innovation
    4. Political parties, civil society, and democratic institutional innovation
    5. Institutional innovation in Ecuador
    6. Institutional innovation in Bolivia
    7. Conclusion: an interaction model of democratic institutional innovation.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Andean Politics
    • Contemporary Latin America / Independent Latin America
    • Leadership Seminar ll: The Quest for Pachakuti: Indigenous Leaders and Movements in the Andes
  • Author

    Donna Lee Van Cott, University of Connecticut
    Donna Lee Van Cott is associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. She is author of From Movements to Parties in Latin America: The Evolution of Ethnic Politics (2005), winner of the 2006 Best Book on Comparative Politics award, American Political Science Association, Organized Section on Race, Ethnicity and Politics, and a 2006 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. She is also the author of The Friendly Liquidation of the Past: The Politics of Diversity in Latin America (2000) and the editor of Indigenous Peoples and Democracy in Latin America (1994). Van Cott has published several dozen articles on ethnic and Andean politics in such journals as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, Studies in Comparative International Development, América Latina Hoy, Democratization, Latin American Research Review, and Latin American Politics and Society. She has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Peace, University of Notre Dame. She previously taught at Tulane University and the University of Tennessee.

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