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From Movements to Parties in Latin America
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Book description

This book provides a detailed treatment of an important topic that has received no scholarly attention: the surprising transformation of indigenous peoples' movements into viable political parties in the 1990s in four Latin American countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela) and their failure to succeed in two others (Argentina, Peru). The parties studied are crucial components of major trends in the region. By providing to voters clear programs for governing, and reaching out in particular to under-represented social groups, they have enhanced the quality of democracy and representative government. Based on extensive original research and detailed historical case studies, the book links historical institutional analysis and social movement theory to a study of the political systems in which the new ethnic cleavages emerged. The book concludes with a discussion of the implications for democracy of the emergence of this phenomenon in the context of declining public support for parties.


‘In this magnificent landmark study, Van Cott establishes herself as the preeminent empiricist on and advocate for ethnic parties in South America.’

Source: Foreign Affairs

‘In a clear and well-written treatment, Van Cott … asks why ethnic parties emerged in the 1990s and why they experienced different levels of success … This is a crucial resource for understanding contemporary indigenous politics.’

Source: Choice

‘Because of the great complexity of indigenous politics in Latin America, rarely does scholarship on this topic venture beyond one or two country cases. Donna Lee Van Cott's systematic comparison of indigenous politics across six countries is therefore a courageous and welcome contribution to the growing literature on this topic.’

Source: International Affairs

‘Donna Lee Van Cott has been a pioneer in the study of indigenous people’s politics in Latin America. Her new book is an important contribution to the study of political parties, especially to the questions of why indigenous parties form and succeed or fail to … From Movement to Parties is very well researched, clearly and persuasively argued, and well written. It is essential reading for political scientists who work on ethnic parties, social movements, and Latin America.’

Source: Political Science Quarterly

‘Van Cott's book is the first in-depth analysis that analyzes ethnic party emergence by rigorously comparing the primary cases of both successful and failed formation … The book is extremely thorough, providing excellent, in-depth discussions … arguably provid[ing] the single best current source of information on indegous political parties in Latin America.’

Source: Moblization

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