Course lecturers: Dr. Barbara Hogenboom
Tel./mail: 020 525 3383 /
Period: 2 November – 21 December
Time: Wednesday 13:00 – 17:00 hours
Course load: 6 EC
Max. participants: 25


Latin American politics are a puzzling field of academic study. On the one hand, political discourses and antagonisms are usually very outspoken, be it from activists or from presidents. Similarly, shifts of regimes and policies seem to have been more extreme than in other parts of the world, as in the case of both neoliberalism and ‘socialism of the 21st century’. On the other hand, political institutions and practices are also heavily influenced by undercurrents that are less visible yet powerful, such as corruption, a lack of trust and loyalty, and weak citizenship and rule of law.

The course deals with the causes, consequences and limitations of political turmoil and change in Latin America, with an emphasis on democratization, economic policy and mobilization around ‘old’ and ‘new’ social and political issues, such as poverty, human rights and environmental justice. In order to understand recent events, we also need to look at previous developments. The ‘left wave’ of the past decade, which is now ceasing, followed after the neoliberalization and democratic transition in the 1980s and 1990s, which was in turn preceded by developmentalist states and dictatorships. In each of these phases, undemocratic political legacies (authoritarianism, elitism, populism), social and economic inequality, politicized state institutions and dependence on foreign capital produced civic discontent and social mobilization as well as initiatives for more participation or autonomy.

Form of instruction and assessment
During the course, different countries, topics and scholarly approaches are discussed. The course consists of seven comprehensive lectures, several short literature assignments, an oral presentation by each student, and viewing and discussing documentaries and media reports. The final open-book exam will take place on 21 December, from 13:00 to 16:00 hours. There is one resit possible: from 13:00 to 16:00 hours on 18 January 2017. Students who need more than six credits will write a book review, resulting in a total of 7.5 points.

Literature (provisional)
Hellinger, Daniel C., Comparative Politics of Latin America. Democracy at Last? Second edition. Routledge, 2015

Picture: Justin De La Ornellas. Protesta!!! Marching toward Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. Argentina (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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