You are here

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 28, 2014

Insightful book, great for wider reading on Latin America.

Ms LB Begum
Department of Management & IT, University of Wales, Trinity St David
August 28, 2014

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 28, 2014
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

Preview this book

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental