Latin American Politics (POLS 546)

2023 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Özge Kemahlıoğlu,
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Doctoral, Master
Formal lecture,Interactive lecture
Interactive,Communicative,Discussion based learning,Project based learning,Case Study
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This course studies Latin American Politics from theoretical and empirical perspectives. First, it will provide a short introduction to the history of Latin America based on major theoretical perspectives with a particular emphasis on the second half of the twentieth century and current context. Then, it will mainly focus on major political, social and economic institutions in the region, while studying intra-regional variation in this respect as well as the common patterns. It will examine the evolution of democratic regimes, military interventions, transitions and civil society politics from an institutionalist perspective, focusing on the so-called ''third wave'' of democratization processes in the region. The course will finally explore the politics of ongoing processes of regionalization within Latin America and between Latin America and other regions of the world. The politics and ideology behind the ideal of ''Latin American integration'' will be studied in this final section. The mail goal of this course is to expose students to substantive empirical issues and theoretical debates in the contemporary scholarship on Latin American politics.


The goal of this class is to give students an overview of the contemporary political questions and challenges that are faced by Latin American countries. In order to have a better understanding of these issues, we start the class with a brief discussion of Latin American history and some important theoretical approaches that dominated the study of Latin American politics. The breakdowns of democracy and transitions to democratic rule have been among the leading issues, so we devote a section on these topics where both theoretical questions and examples from countries will be discussed. The following section looks in more detail at workings of democratic governments in Latin America. We focus on political institutions such as the presidential system and political parties, corruption, and some political economy issues such as economic reforms. The course ends with a discussion of 'the left' in Latin America.


  • At the end of the course, the students are expected to -know facts about Latin American history and contemporary politics -understand the challenges that are faced by Latin American countries -assess the consequences of choices on political institutions and political economy -analyse Latin American politics from a comparative perspective -assess the position of Latin American region in world politics


1. Develop and deepen the current and advanced knowledge in the field with original thought and/or research and come up with innovative definitions based on Master's degree qualifications

2. Conceive the interdisciplinary interaction which the field is related with ; come up with original solutions by using knowledge requiring proficiency on analysis, synthesis and assessment of new and complex ideas.

3. Evaluate and use new information within the field in a systematic approach.

4. Develop an innovative knowledge, method, design and/or practice or adapt an already known knowledge, method, design and/or practice to another field; research, conceive, design, adapt and implement an original subject.

5. Critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of new and complex ideas.

6. Gain advanced level skills in the use of research methods in the field of study.

7. Contribute the progression in the field by producing an innovative idea, skill, design and/or practice or by adapting an already known idea, skill, design, and/or practice to a different field independently.

8. Broaden the borders of the knowledge in the field by producing or interpreting an original work or publishing at least one scientific paper in the field in national and/or international refereed journals.

9. Demonstrate leadership in contexts requiring innovative and interdisciplinary problem solving.

10. Develop new ideas and methods in the field by using high level mental processes such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving and decision making.

11. Investigate and improve social connections and their conducting norms and manage the actions to change them when necessary.

12. Defend original views when exchanging ideas in the field with professionals and communicate effectively by showing competence in the field.

13. Ability to communicate and discuss orally, in written and visually with peers by using a foreign language at least at a level of European Language Portfolio C1 General Level.

14. Contribute to the transition of the community to an information society and its sustainability process by introducing scientific, technological, social or cultural improvements.

15. Demonstrate functional interaction by using strategic decision making processes in solving problems encountered in the field.

16. Contribute to the solution finding process regarding social, scientific, cultural and ethical problems in the field and support the development of these values.

1. Develop the ability to use critical, analytical, and reflective thinking and reasoning 4

2. Reflect on social and ethical responsibilities in his/her professional life. 2

3. Gain experience and confidence in the dissemination of project/research outputs 3

4. Work responsibly and creatively as an individual or as a member or leader of a team and in multidisciplinary environments. 4

5. Communicate effectively by oral, written, graphical and technological means and have competency in English. 5

6. Independently reach and acquire information, and develop appreciation of the need for continuously learning and updating. 5

1. Develop a thorough knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in the field and apply them in research design and data analysis. 5

2. Assess the impact of the economic, social, and political environment from a global, national and regional level. 5

3. Know how to access written and visual, primary and secondary sources of information, interpret concepts and data from a variety of sources in developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses. 3

1. Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics. 5

1. Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics. 5


  Percentage (%)
Midterm 35
Term-Paper 50
Participation 15



Halperin-Donghi, Tulio. Contemporary History of Latin America. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993 Pages 1-41
Skidmore, Thomas E. and Peter H. Smith. Modern Latin America. Fifth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001 Pages 26- 58
Cardoso, Fernando and Enzo Faletto, Dependency and Development in Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979). Pages 1- 28; 127- 149
Collier, David Overview of the Bureaucratic-Authoritarian Model. In David Collier, ed. The New Authoritarianism in Latin America (Princeton University Press, 1979), pp. 19-32.
Remmer, Karen L,Neopatrimonialism: The Politics of Military Rule in Chile, 1973-1987 Comparative Politics, Vol. 21, No. 2. (Jan., 1989), pp. 149-170.
Hagopian, Frances, Traditional politics and regime change in Brazil.
Cambridge University, 1996. Chapter 1
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Cox, Gary, and Scott Morgenstern. 2001. Latin America's Reactive Assemblies and Proactive Presidents. Comparative Politics 33 (2).
Political Parties and Electoral Choice:
Mainwaring, Scott and Timothy R. Scully, Introduction: Party Systems in Latin America. In Mainwaring and Scully, eds. Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America (Stanford University Press, 1995).
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Pastor Jr., Manuel and Carol Wise. The Politics of Second-Generation Reform.
Journal of Democracy 10:3 (1999) pp. 34-48.
Castañeda, Jorge G. Utopia Unarmed The Latin American Left After the Cold War. (Vintage Books, 1994) Chapter 3
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Bachelet tries again The Economist, Mar 29th 2007
Hunter, Wendy The Normalization of an Anomaly The Workers Party In Brazil World Politics 59 (April 2007), 440?75
Canache, Damarys From Bullets to Ballots. The Emergence of Popular Support for Hugo Chávez Latin American Politics and Society Vol. 44 No 1 2002
Dieterich, Heinz Evo Morales, Communitarian Socialism, and the Regional Power Block Monthly Review July 1, 2006.