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Latin American Party Systems by Herbert Kitschelt

By Herbert Kitschelt

Political events supply a vital hyperlink among electorate and politicians. This hyperlink takes a number of varieties in democratic regimes, from the association of political machines equipped round clientelistic networks to the institution of refined programmatic events. Latin American social gathering structures offers a unique theoretical argument to account for alterations within the measure to which political get together platforms within the sector have been programmatically dependent on the finish of the 20th century. in accordance with a various array of symptoms and surveys of social gathering legislators and public opinion, the e-book argues that studying and edition via basic coverage ideas are the most mechanisms wherein politicians construct programmatic events. Marshalling large proof, the book's research indicates the boundaries of different reasons and substantiates a sanguine view of programmatic pageant, however spotting that this kind of social gathering approach association is much from ubiquitous and enduring in Latin the USA.

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What matters to us is the identification of empirical tracers of sustained PPS as elite coordination and citizen-politician linkage and to explain the extent to which PPS varies across polities, parties, and time. Let us relate our notion of programmatic party system structuration to two other features that play a role in the comparative party system literature: “polarization” between parties and “cleavages” that structure party alignments. Party polarization is a special case of PPS, namely a programmatic structuration of partisan alternatives in which the announced positions of relevant competitors are very far apart.

First, when we say that our study focuses on the “quality” of democracy in Latin America, we employ that notion in a purely positive – that is, descriptive and analytical – sense. It concerns the identification of attributes and features of democratic processes of interest articulation, aggregation, decision making, and policy implementation in Latin American polities. We do not subscribe to a unified normative scale of “high” or “low” quality against which existing democracies can be judged, nor do we attempt to create a parsimonious set of multidimensional “types” of democracy under which empirical cases can be subsumed.

Through periodic elections, agents are held accountable to the mass public. In anticipation of such accountability, agents may be responsive to the principals’ demands and preferences. There is plenty of debate about this normative and positive characterization of such “first principles” of democratic contestation (cf. Collier and Levitsky 1997; Held 1987; Dahl 1989; Shapiro 2003), but in this study we are concerned with the more specific question of how democratic polities express circuits of accountability and responsiveness in light of their existing institutions and the nature of the political actors who inhabit them.

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