GV443      Half Unit
The State and Political Institutions in Latin America

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof George Philip CON3.02


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in Human Rights and MSc in Media, Communication and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

For MSc Comparative Politics and MSc Human Rights. MSc Global Politics, MSc Media, Communication and Development and MPA Programme (all streams) and other graduate students may follow the course with permission.

Course content

The main political actors and institutions influencing the condition of democracy Latin America. Thematic study of political actors and institutions in Latin America including the state, presidentialism, populism and caudillismo, political parties, the private sector and labour, civil society,, accountability, the rule of law and human rights, democratic consolidation and un-consolidation. Focus on plurality of theories and frameworks of analysis with aim of developing skills for independent analysis of the advances and setbacks of democracy in the region.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay.

Indicative reading

L. Diamond, M. F. Plattner and D. Abente Brum (eds) Latin America's Struggle for Democracy; F. Hagopian and S. P. Mainwarikg (edts) The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America; F. Aguero, & J. Stark (eds), Fault Lines of Democracy in Post-Transition Latin America; G. Philip, Democracy in Latin America; G. O'Donnell, 'Delegative Democracy' Journal of Democracy 5, 1; P. A. Smith and R. Ziegler 'Liberal and Illiberal Democracy in Latin America' Latin American Politics and Society 50 (1). S. Mainwaring and M. Shugart, Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America; K. M. Roberts, 'The Mobilization of Opposition to Economic Liberalization' American Review of Political Science11. J; J, Méndez, (et al) The (Un) Rule of Law & the Underprivileged in Latin America; B. De Sousa Santos, Democratizing Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon.


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Two-hour unseen written examination in the ST (75%). One 3,000 word essay to be handed in by the second week of the Lent Term (25%).

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 4.3
Merit 80.4
Pass 15.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: 14

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication