Is Latin America experiencing a resurgence of leftwing governments, or are we seeing a rebirth of national-radical populism? Are the governments of Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa becoming institutionalized as these leaders claim novel models of participatory and direct democracy? Or are they reenacting older traditions that have favored plebiscitary acclamation and clientelist distribution of resources to loyal followers? Are we seeing authentic forms of expression of the popular will by leaders who have empowered those previously disenfranchised? Or are these governments as charismatic, authoritarian, and messianic as their populist predecessors? This new and expanded edition of Populist Seduction in Latin America explores the ambiguous relationships between democracy and populism and brings de la Torre’s earlier work up to date, comparing classical nationalist, populist regimes of the 1940s, such as those of Juan Perón and José María Velasco Ibarra, with their contemporary neoliberal and radical successors. De la Torre explores their similarities and differences, focusing on their discourses and uses of political symbols and myths.
Carlos de la Torre is a professor of political studies at FLACO-Ecuador. He is coeditor with Steve Striffler of The Ecuador Reader.
“The first edition of this book was everything one could hope for in an academic book: it was insightful and illustrated with lively and in-depth examples of real politics. The same is true for the revised and expanded second edition. This is a book that all scholars of Latin America should read… . It is a rare book in that it is theoretically important, and excellent for classroom use.”
— Bulletin of Latin American Research
For anyone wishing a succinct and theoretically sophisticated concept-building analysis of populist rhetoric and leadership style based on a fascinating lesser-known case study, this book should be on your shelf.
— Latin American Research Review
“This highly recommended book argues persuasively that populism generates forms of political inclusion for marginalized sectors of the society, yet does so in ways that endanger individual liberties.”
“In this substantially expanded edition, Carlos de la Torre extends his insightful analysis of Latin American populism in general, and Ecuadorian populism in particular, to the current government of Rafael Correa. He skillfully demonstrates the ambiguities of populist experiences, which combine political mass involvement and top-down control, and hover between authoritarianism and democracy. An excellent book!”
— author of The Politics of Market Reform in Fragile Democracies
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