Selected Essays on Authoritarianism and Democratization
Kellogg Institute Series on Democracy and Development
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
- ISBN: 9780268008376
- Published: November 2005
The central, driving theme of this volume is democracy, its vicissitudes and its possibilities in Latin America. Guillermo O’Donnell considers the pattern of political and social alliances that have shaped Argentina’s agitated history, and focuses on the tensions and intrinsic weaknesses of bureaucratic-authoritarianism, especially in its most repressive guises, at a time when it projected itself as an enduring, efficient, and potentially legitimate form of political authority. He includes detailed empirical analysis of daily life under extremely repressive regimes and argues throughout that the struggle for democracy is the most appropriate way, both morally and strategically, to take advantage of the fissures and tensions that close examination discovers behind the bureaucratic-authoritarianism facade.Counterpoints is a successful mix of personal experience and meticulous scholarship—a trajectory of O’Donnell’s work that starts with the critique of authoritarianism and ends with a close examination of presently existing democracies in Latin America. His discussion of the flaws of the new democracies originating from defective institutionalism and extreme social inequalities is especially valuable for scholars of democracy and democratization, comparative politics, and Latin American politics.
This collection of essays by Guillermo O’Donnell provides a retrospective look at the ways that his thinking has developed over the past thirty years or so. It deserves a warm welcome. [O’Donnell] has always been ready to think the unthinkable. Today he can claim to be one of the very few original political thinkers of his generation.” ~Journal of Latin American Studies
“One of Latin America’s most influential political scientists, O’Donnell has collected his most important essays in this volume. He first sets the field alight in the 1970s with his analysis of ‘bureaucratic authoritarian regimes,’ a term he coined for Argentina and Brazil in particular, and he has been stoking the flames ever since. His thoughtful and provocative essays touch on all the democratic challenges that his homeland, Argentina, and the rest of Latin America face. Reflecting the changing political tides throughout the region, these essays also mirror O’Donnell’s participation in the debates over democratic transition and consolidation. His studies cover the social alliances shaping the Argentine political system, authoritarianism’s various guises and internal tensions, and democracy’s revival after a period of extreme repression. A valuable contribution from a fertile mind.” ~Foreign Affairs