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Building Democracy in Latin America, 3rd edition

John Peeler
Building Democracy in Latin America, 3rd edition
ISBN: 978-1-58826-611-8
2008/275 pages/LC: 2008024560
Praise for the previous editions:

Winner of the Arthur P. Whitaker Prize!

“This is a very good book.... [It] will probably stand for some time as the best introduction to Latin America’s complex experience with democracy.”—Political Science Quarterly

"An excellent general introduction to the comparative politics of democratization in the region, interwoven with an intelligent and lucid discussion of democratic theory. It will make worthwhile reading for undergraduates ... and for [anyone] engaged in current debates about the causes and dynamics of democratization and the contemporary politics of Latin America."—Franklin Steves, JISWA

"Recommended as an introduction to comparative politics in the region.... a welcome and useful survey."—Paul Cammack, Political Studies


The third edition of this historically and theoretically grounded analysis of the democratic experience in Latin America reflects important developments both in the region and in the comparative politics literature.

Placing the subject in a normative context, John Peeler gives significant attention to the adequacy of a purely electoral concept of democracy. He also addresses the problems that economic globalization pose for building vital democracies. One focus of this new edition is the recent “left turn” in Latin America, which has seen the majority of the region’s countries elect presidents with socialist or social democratic stances that directly challenge the previously dominant free market, neoliberal ideology.


John Peeler is professor emeritus of political science at Bucknell University. His publications include Latin American Democracies: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela.


  • Introduction
  • Basic Issues of Democratic Theory.
  • Democracy and the Latin American Tradition.
  • Foundations: Establishing Democracy
  • Maintenance: Stabilization and Consolidation
  • Destabilization, Deconsolidation, Decay
  • Latin American Democracy Today
  • A New Vision of Democracy in a Globalized World