Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 January 2021
Historical change is often driven by demands for inclusion by previously marginalized groups. Latin America’s most recent inclusionary turn was characterized by an emphasis on constitutionalism, an explosion of popular participation, and a commitment to social policies that empowered and lifted millions of people out of poverty. Practices of citizenship were at the heart of these struggles for inclusion. Yet failure to ratchet-up citizenship rights leaves the region vulnerable to the undoing of inclusionary reforms, and thus a return to exclusion, repression, and democratic backsliding. To trace the evolution of inclusion in the region, and to better understand how cycles of inclusion and exclusion have often eroded state capacity, this chapter outlines political logics of inclusion, describes how these logics have changed over historical periods, analyzes the structural-historical conditions that shape whether inclusion threatens the interests of powerful actors, sketches alternative pathways to inclusion, and discusses inclusionary outcomes and the unfinished business of building a citizens’ democracy. It compares cases varying along two dimensions: changes in the types of inclusion over time and differences in pathways to inclusion across the region. The breadth of the comparison brings structural-historical factors back into focus, without denying the importance of political institutions.