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This issue of International Development Policy looks at recent paradigmatic innovations and related development trajectories in Latin America, with a particular focus on the Andean region. It examines the diverse development narratives and experiences in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru during a period of high commodity prices associated with robust growth, poverty alleviation and inequality reduction. Highlighting propositions such as buen vivir, this thematic issue questions whether competing ideologies and discourses have translated into different outcomes, be it with regard to environmental sustainability, social progress, primary commodity dependence, or the rights of indigenous peoples. This collection of articles aims to enrich our understanding of recent development debates and processes in Latin America, and what the rest of the world can learn from them.
While in the days of the Cold War models of citizenship were relatively clear-cut around the contrasting projects of reform and revolution, in the last three decades Latin America has become a laboratory for comparative research. The region has witnessed both a renewal of electoral democracy and the diversification of experiments in citizen representation and participation. The implementation of neo-liberal policies has led to countervailing transformations in democratic citizenship and to the rise of populist leaderships, while the crisis of representation has been accompanied by new forms of participation, generating profound transformations. The authors analyze these recent trends, reflected in new forms of populism, inclusion and exclusion, participation and alternative models of democracy, social insecurity and violence, diasporas and transnationalism, the politics of justice and the politics of identity and multiculturalism.