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Transitions from Authoritarian Rule Latin America by Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, Laurence Whitehead


Transitions from Authoritarian Rule Latin America by Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, Laurence Whitehead

An array of internationally noted scholars examines the process of democratization in southern Europe and Latin America. They provide new interpretations of both current and historical efforts of nations to end periods of authoritarian rule and to initiate transition to democracy, efforts that have met with widely varying degrees of success and failure. Extensive case studies of individual countries, a comparative overview, and a synthesis conclusions offer important insights for political scientists, students, and all concerned with the prospects for democracy. Southern Europe The historical example of Italy after Mussolini as well as the more recent cases of Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey suggest factors that may make a transition relatively secure. Latin America Democratization is perhaps the central issue in Latin American politics today. Case studies focus on Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Comparative Perspectives Despite the unique contexts of transitions in individual countries, significant points of comparison emerge -- such as the influence of foreign nations and the role of agents outside the government. These analyses explore both intra- and interregional similarities and differences. Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies Political democracy is not the only possible outcome of transitions from authoritarianism. Guillermo O'Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter draw out the implications of democracy as a goal and of the uncertainty inherent in transitional situations.


The essays appearing in the collection Transitions from Authoritarian rule... will serve as reference points for students of redemocratization for years to come. Other essays will serve as classic case studies... the volumes deserve to be read time and again. -- Nancy Bermeo * Comparative Politics *

About the Author

Laurence Whitehead is a professor at Nuffield College at Oxford University.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 1986


Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, Laurence Whitehead

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Johns Hopkins University Press


256 pages


Political structures: democracy



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