Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 January 2021
Latin America’s recent inclusionary turn centers on changing relationships between the popular sectors and the state. Yet the new inclusion unfolds in a region in which most states are weak and prone to severe pathologies, such as corruption, inefficiency, and particularism. The first part of the chapter outlines an argument, developed at more length elsewhere, regarding how “state crises” helped drive the consolidation of three distinct party system trajectories among the eight South American countries where the Left would eventually win power. The second part of the chapter argues that these trajectories differed in three ways that likely conditioned how the concomitant inclusionary Left turn unfolded in each case: the institutionalization of left-wing parties, the occurrence of state transformation via constitutional reform, and the level of state capacity. The discussion helps highlight the central role of the state and its pathologies in both driving alternative paths of political development and in conditioning the politics of inclusion. By putting the emphasis on the state and its pathologies, we can better consider not just the sources of sociopolitical exclusion but also the limits of sociopolitical inclusion.