Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America
Collier, Ruth Berins, and David Collier. 2002. Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement, and Regime Dynamics in Latin America. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
122 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017
Date Written: 2002
Based on a comparative-historical analysis of eight Latin American countries, this book traces the impact of a “critical juncture”: a period of fundamental political reorientation in which new institutions are founded and countries are set on distinct trajectories of change. The analysis focuses on alternative state responses to the newly radicalized working class and organized labor movements that emerged in the initial decades of the 20th century. It examines the shift from state repression to the incorporation of the labor movement, showing how national leaders – including Perón in Argentina, Vargas in Brazil, and Cárdenas in Mexico – sought to impose a new institutional framework on working-class politics.The book argues that different strategies of control and mobilization left distinct legacies in terms of political coalitions, party systems, and modes of political conflict. These outcomes in turn influenced patterns of regime change, including the democratic or authoritarian path each country followed through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. From the perspective of 1990, just prior to the book’s publication, the concluding chapter maps criteria for assessing whether Latin America was, at the end of the twentieth century, entering a new critical juncture.
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