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Course Description
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Political Science: Political and Social Change in Argentina and Latin America
University of Belgrano
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Political Science, Sociology 300 English 3 45 N/A

Objective

This introductory course concentrates on the dynamics of social and political change and the building of citizenship in Argentina within a Latin American context. Although it is especially focused on Argentina's experience, constant reference is also made to other national cases, such as those of Mexico, Brazil and Chile. The course includes a brief description of Argentina´s political system, and topics such as the role of the military, political parties, unions and social movements. In order to provide a complete picture of contemporary Argentine politics, we analyze in more detail the processes of breakdown of democracy and the military dictatorships in the '60s and '70's, the transition to democratic rule that took place in the '80s, the subsequent changes in political dynamics and political actors, and the current debates about democratic consolidation and the quality of citizenship and democratic institutions, with an emphasis on the problems of representation.

General Purposes & Objectives

Students are expected to

  • develop an understanding of different social and political realities;
  • get to know basic facts in Argentine and Latin American political and social history and to acquire basic elements about contemporary political processes in Argentina as well as in the region as a whole;
  • deepen their knowledge about Latin America in general, and Argentina in particular, making a good use of their stay abroad;
  • acquire basic concepts and theoretical tools for political analysis;
  • make comparisons between countries and to make conclusions based on those concepts and theoretical tools.

Course Requirements & Evaluation

-If the course is taken as a regular course, it will consist in weekly two-hour classes throughout the semester, and the final grade will be based on one midterm examination, one final examination (not cumulative) and one oral presentation.
-If the course is followed as an Independent Study, it will be based on a meeting every two weeks, and the final grade will be the result of the homework handed in by the student after every class, plus a final paper on a subject chosen in agreement with the teacher or a final written exam. The main written work can be either a synthethic review of the literature on a problem related to the course's themes or a research paper.
For regular courses, the weight given to each task is as follows:

BASIS OF GRADE SHARE
Oral Presentation 20%
Mid-Term Exam 35%
Final Exam 45%
Total 100%

Oral Presentation
You will be assigned a class presentation based on required or background (optional) readings. You should prepare a summary to distribute to the class.

Examinations
Exams typically comprise three or four general questions that you should answer with an essay developing the topic and giving reasons and explanations for your ideas. The final exam is not cumulative -that is, it only covers the second half of the contents of this syllabus. The two exams together are worth 80% of your grade.

Discussion of Current International and National Political Issues
Students will be asked to watch the news and/or read some Argentine newspaper, in order to be able to talk about the main issues of the day, which will be done during the first 10-15 minutes every class.

Readings
All students are expected to read all the required material for every session, in order to be able to take an active part in it. For subjects about which there is no literature available in English, students will have to rely on their class notes, if they do not understand the Spanish language assignments.

For each class one or two required readings will be assigned; the rest of the material will be recommended (in the case of Independent Studies) only to those who have chosen the subject for their final paper.

Syllabus

Unit 1- Social and Political development in Latin America: from oligarchic to mass politics. The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

Unit 2- Forms of Political Mobilization. Populism.

Unit 3- Authoritarian Regimes and Military Rule. Regime Transitions.

Unit 4- Political Parties, Citizenship and Democratic Institutions.

Unit 5- The New Democracies. State and Market Reforms. New Political Actors.

Class Schedule and Readings

Week 1
Introduction

Week 2
Social and Political development in Latin America: from oligarchic to mass politics I
Required Reading:

  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 1: "Authoritarianism and Democracy in Latin America")
  • Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith, Modern Latin America, Second Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989 (Ch. 3, 7: Argentina and México)

Week 3
Social and Political development in Latin America: from oligarchic to mass politics II
Required Reading:

  • Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith, Modern Latin America, Second Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989 (Ch. 4, 5: Chile and Brazil)

Week 4
Political mobilization and participation in Latin America
Required Reading:

  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 3: "Government and Citizens")
  • Ruth Berins Collier and David Collier, Shaping the Political Arena, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1991 (pp. 3-20)
  • Joel Horowitz, "Populism and its Legacies in Argentina", in: Michael L. Conniff (ed.), Populism Latin America, Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama Press, 1999,

Week 5
Authoritarianism and the Role of the Military I
Required Reading:

  • David Collier, "Overview of the Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Model", in: D. Collier (ed.), The New Authoritarianism in Latin America, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1979.
  • Fernando H. Cardoso, "On the Characterization of Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America", in: D. Collier (ed.), The New Authoritarianism in Latin America, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1979.

Week 6
Authoritarianism and the Role of the Military II
Required Reading:

  • Arturo Valenzuela, "The Military in Power: The Consolidation of One-Man Rule", in Paul W. Drake and Ivan Jaksic (eds.), The Struggle for Democracy in Chile 1982-1990, Lincoln, The University of Nebraska Press, 1991.

Week 7
Transitions to Democracy
Required Reading:

  • Carlos Acuña and Catalina Smulovitz, "Adjusting the Armed Forces to Democracy: Successes, Failures and Ambiguities in the Southern Cone", in Elizabeth Jelin and Eric Hershberg (eds.), Constructing Democracy. Human Rights, Citizenship and Society in Latin America, Boulder, Westview Press, 1996.
  • Panizza, F., "Human Rights in the Processes of Transition and Consolidation of Democracy in Latin America" (available in electronic format)

Week 8
Mid-Term Exam

Week 9
Political Parties
Required Reading:

  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 5: "Political Parties")
  • James W. McGuire, "Political Parties and Democracy in Argentina", in Scott Mainwaring and Timothy Scully (eds.), Building Democratic Institutions. Party Systemsin Latin America, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1995.
  • Steven Levitsky, Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America. Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003 (Ch. 2: "Origins and Evolution of a Mass Populist Party", and Ch. 5: "From Labor Politics to Machine Politics: The Transformation of Party-Union Linkages").

Week 10
Institutions: Elections, Legislatures, and Executives. The Debate on Presidentialism.
Required Reading:

  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 6: "Presidents, Legislatures and Elections")
  • M. S. Shugart and S.Mainwaring, "Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America: Rethinking the Terms of the Debate", in: Mainwaring and Shugart (eds.), Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Week 11
Citizenship and democracy in Latin America I. Nation-Building and Citizenship.
Required Reading:

  • Philip Oxhorn, "Social Inequality, Civil Society and the Limits of Citizenship in Latin America" (available in electronic format)
  • Anthony W. Marx, Making Race and Nation. A Comparison of the United States, South Africa and Brazil, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998 (Ch. 7: "Order and Progress: Inclusive Nation-State Building in Brazil")
  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 9: "Minority and Indigenous Rights")

Week 12
Citizenship and democracy in Latin America II. The Quality of Democracies.
Required Reading:

  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 2: "Latin America and the Democratic Universe")
  • Guillermo O'Donnell, "Polyarchies and the (Un)Rule of Law in Latin America" (available in electronic format)

Week 13
The New Political Actors: Social Movements, Civil Society, NGO's, Media
Required Reading:

  • Joe Foweraker, Todd Landman and Neil Harvey, Governing Latin America, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003 (Ch. 8: "New Political Actors");
  • Enrique Peruzzotti, Towards a New Politics: Citizenship and Rights in Contemporary Argentina, Citizenship Studies, Vol. 6, Nr. 1, 2002.
  • Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders. Advocacy Networks in International Politics, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1998 (Ch. 3: Human Rights Advocay Networks in Latin America)

Week 14
Economic liberalization and State Reforms in Latin America
Required Reading:

  • Hector Schamis, "Distributional Coalitions and the Politics of Economic Reform in Latin America", World Politics 51, January 1991.
  • Juan Carlos Torre, "Critical Junctures and Economic Change: Launching Market Reforms in Argentina", in: Josph Tulchin and Allison Garland (eds.), Argentina. The Challenges of Modernization, Wilmington, SR Books, 1998.

Week 15
Final Exam











 
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