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Latin American Political Culture

Latin American Political Culture
Public Opinion and Democracy

November 2014 | 312 pages | CQ Press
Latin American Political Culture: Public Opinion and Democracy presents a genuinely pan-Latin American examination of the region’s contemporary political culture. This is the only book to extensively investigate the attitudes and behaviors of Latin Americans based on the Latin American Public Opinion Project’s (LAPOP) AmericasBarometer surveys. Through its analysis of data on eighteen countries, the book systematically and comparatively evaluates norms, attitudes, and opinions concerning democracy and its consolidation. Beginning with an introduction of political culture and its scholarship, it examines democratic and authoritarian norms, explores how citizens relate to the political world, and considers implications for democratic stability. It then examines key behavioral outcomes in politics, such as in attitudes toward gays and fear of crime, and how political culture changes over time. Case studies highlight how these factors come together in particular cases. The findings reveal a complex Latin America with distinct political cultures. This book joins rigorous analysis with clear graphic presentation and extensive examples.  Readers learn about public opinion research, engage with further questions for analysis, and have access to data, an expansive bibliography, and links to appendices.

Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1: Latin American Political Culture and Democracy: Introduction
What Is Political Culture? A Common Language for Politics

Why Political Culture Matters: An Argument Over Its Function

Views of Latin American Political Culture: Traditional Theories and an Emerging New Picture

The Goal of This Book

Further Analysis Exercises

Part II: A Survey of Latin American Political Cultural Norms
Chapter 2: Do Latin Americans Support Democracy?
What Model of Democracy?

Historical-Cultural Background and Latin American Political Culture

Sources of Democratic Attitudes

Case Study: Uruguay Is the Most Culturally Democratic Latin American Country


Further Analysis Exercises

Chapter 3: Do Latin Americans Reject Authoritarian Norms?
Authoritarian Norms in a Democratic Context?

Historical-Cultural Background

Surveying Latin Americans’ Commitment to Authoritarian and Antidemocratic Political Norms

Authoritarianism and Related Norms Among Latin Americans

Sources of Authoritarian and Antidemocratic Norms

Case Study: Political Culture and Honduras’ “Pajama Coup”

Discussion and Conclusions

Further Analysis Exercises

Chapter 4: Views of Government and the Political System
Historical-Cultural Background

Views About Politics And Government

Political Efficacy and Trust

Party Identification And Ideology

Expectations of the Political System: Government and Welfare and Divisions on the Rule of Law

Case Study: Caudillismo, Confrontation, and Venezuela's Crisis in the Bolivarian Revolution


Further Analysis Exercises

Chapter 5: Demand for Democracy and Evaluation of Government’s Institutions
The Performance of Latin American Governments

Citizens’ Evaluations of Their Governments

Explaining Satisfaction With Democracy

Case Study: Vigilante Justice in Mexico- Failed Public Security and Autodefensas


Further Analysis Exercises

Part III: Critical Issues of Latin American Political Culture
Chapter 6: Civic and Political Participation
Historical-Cultural Background

How Citizens Participate

Civil Society Activism

Political Participation

Case Study: Brazil- Sao Paulo Youth Protest for Access to Fancy Malls


Further Analysis Exercises

Chapter 7: Innate Characteristics and Political Culture: Gender, Age, Race, and Ethnicity


Race and Ethnicity

Skin Color

Case Study: Cultural Integration of Indigenous Guatemalans and Bolivians


Further Analysis Exercises

Chapter 8: Acquired Cleavages and Political Culture
Religious Identity


Economic Status

Case Study: Tolerance of Gays Reveals Powerful Religious and Contextual Effects


Further Analysis Exercises

Chapter 9: Dynamic Factors and Political Culture
The Age of Democracy and Political Culture

Economic Crisis and Political Attitudes

Social and Political Capital and Democratization

Case Study: Women in Elite Politics


Further Analysis Questions

Part IV: Conclusions About Latin American Political Culture
Chapter 10: Conclusions: Consolidating Democratic Culture
Summing Up: What We Have Learned

Latin America and Its Northern Neighbors

Practical Implications of Political Culture


Further Analysis Exercises


Insightful book, great for wider reading on Latin America.

Ms LB Begum
Department of Management & IT, University of Wales, Trinity St David
August 25, 2015

Insightful book, great for wider reading on Latin America.

Ms LB Begum
Department of Management & IT, University of Wales, Trinity St David
August 25, 2015

Insightful book, great for wider reading on Latin America. Easy to adopt, not a dense a book. I would recommend.

Ms LB Begum
Department of Management & IT, University of Wales, Trinity St David
August 25, 2015
Key features


  • Tables and Figures illustrate important aspects of data from AmericasBarometer surveys on Latin American views of democracy, authoritarianism, government institutions, and political behavior and attitudes, which the narrative sets into wider context.
  • Case Studies in each chapter illuminate aspects of political culture and provide a basis from which to understand the data discussed and how it relates to actions and events in Latin America.
  • Further Analysis Exercises conclude each chapter and encourage students to apply their understanding of the data to developments and differences in the region.
  • Comparisons to the United States and Canada appear in many figures and in discussion giving students a point of reference.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 4

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483322476

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