Democratization in Unlikely Places: Comparative Lessons from the Latin American Experience

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Kenneth M. Roberts Department of Government, Cornell University,

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The Latin American experience at the end of the 20th century demonstrates that democratic regimes can be established and stabilized in “unlikely” places that would not appear to have the requisite “preconditions” for democracy as conventionally theorized. The region may thus provide insights into the prospects for democracy in other parts of the world, such as the MENA region, that also lack the traditional correlates of democracy. An understanding of democracy’s institutional roots in deep societal conflicts, rather than political consensus, civic cultures, or economic prosperity, is an essential starting point for such cross-regional perspectives.

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