Latin American Politics (POLS 446)

2023 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Özge Kemahlıoğlu,
Click here to view.
SPS101 SPS102
Formal lecture,Interactive lecture
Interactive,Communicative,Discussion based learning,Case Study
Click here to view.


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. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 5

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 2

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 2

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 5

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 2

1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 3

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 5

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 3

1. Analyze global affairs from international relations and economics perspectives. 5

2. Demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of the international affairs. 5

3. Compete for increasing opportunities in careers within the newly emerging global institutions. 4

4. Evaluate the international political events and present their views and positions on international affairs with advanced oral and written skills. 5

1. To analyze national and global events from various social science perspectives.

2. To demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge on political science and international relations and to state views and positions with advanced oral and written skills.

3. To compete for increasing career opportunities in national and global institutions.

4. To (be able to) understand and follow the changes in political behaviours, opinions and structures.

5. To gain the ability to make logical inferences on social and political issues based on comparative and historical knowledge.

1. Understand and follow changes in patterns of political behavior, ideas and structures. 5

2. Develop the ability to make logical inferences about social and political issues on the basis of comparative and historical knowledge. 5


  Percentage (%)
Final 50
Midterm 35
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
Haggard, Stephan and Robert R. Kaufman. The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions. (Princeton University Press, 1995) Chapter 1
Collier, Ruth Berins. Paths Toward Democracy: The Working Class and Elites in Western Europe and South America. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) Chapter 4
Cheibub, Jose Antonio. Presidentialism, Parliamentarism and Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006) Chapter 6
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).
Valenzuela, J. Samuel and Timothy R. Scully. Electoral Choices and the Party System in Chile: Continuities and Changes at the Recovery of Democracy Comparative Politics, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Jul., 1997), pp. 511-527.
Murillo, Maria V. (2001) Labor Unions, Partisan Coalitions and Market Reforms in Latin America. Cambridge University Press. Chapters 1 and 3
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
Frank, Volker. The Elusive Goal in Democratic Chile: Reforming the Pinochet Labor Legislation Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 44, No. 1. (Spring, 2002), pp. 35-68.
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.