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Latin American State Building in Comparative Perspective
Social Foundations of Institutional Order

$32.99 (P)

  • Date Published: March 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521747318
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About the Authors
  • Latin American State Building in Comparative Perspective provides an account of long-run institutional development in Latin America that emphasizes the social and political foundations of state-building processes. The study argues that societal dynamics have path-dependent consequences at two critical points: the initial consolidation of national institutions in the wake of independence, and at the time when the “social question” of mass political incorporation forced its way into the national political agenda across the region during the Great Depression. Dynamics set into motion at these points in time have produced widely varying and stable distributions of state capacity in the region. Marcus J. Kurtz tests this argument using structured comparisons of the post-independence political development of Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay.

    • Utilizes a research design aimed at accurately assessing long-term, path-dependent explanations by showing both the mechanisms that lead to the emergence of outcomes and those that produce them
    • Employs a four-country, dual paired comparison of Chile and Peru vs. Argentina and Uruguay to elucidate the consequences of different portions of the overall argument
    • Has a long historical sweep, considering post-independence political development in all four countries, and probes the external validity of the findings in an examination of the Prussian case
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This is a landmark contribution to the study of state building in Latin America. Contra reigning perspectives, Kurtz adopts a society-centered and path-dependent approach that emphasizes the historical legacies of class formation and political alliances. The result is a fresh and sophisticated explanation of variations in patterns of state building - one that can withstand scrutiny in light of fine-grained evidence from specific cases."
    James Mahoney, Northwestern University

    "This book makes a crucial contribution to the field. It will not only shift our current understanding of state capacity and its causes but will open new roads based on the crucial explanatory power of state infrastructural power - in Latin America and beyond."
    Maria Victoria Murillo, Columbia University

    "In this highly original and insightful book, Marcus Kurtz redefines the scholarly debate on the origins of state institutional capacities in developing regions. Through a comparative historical analysis of Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, Kurtz demonstrates that strong and weak states were not the product of natural resource endowments, international warfare, or colonial institutional legacies. Instead, they were path-dependent legacies of critical junctures associated with post-independence state formation and 20th-century patterns of mass political incorporation. By showing how coercive labor practices in the countryside and elite divisions in the post-independence period created highly durable trajectories of institutional weakness, Kurtz sheds new light on the historical and social origins of variation in state capacities."
    Kenneth M. Roberts, Cornell University

    "This book makes a major contribution to comparative scholarship by drawing on economic and social structuralism to explain state building in Latin America. After disproving conventional theories that highlight war-making and natural resource wealth, Marcus Kurtz breaks new ground by demonstrating the impact of rural social relations and of different groupings’ political inclusion. With his sophisticated reasoning and thorough research, he illuminates the historical paths that have given rise to states of surprisingly divergent administrative capacity."
    Kurt Weyland, University of Texas, Austin

    "Kurtz asks what has led some states to develop institutions capable of regulating the economic, political, and even social behavior of their citizens, while others have lagged behind. To answer this question, he relies upon a rich historical analysis of state-building efforts in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Uraguay … He tests this theory this extensive data from paired comparisons of the polar opposite cases of Chile and Peru, as well as the more similar cases of Argentina and Uruguay. Summing up: recommended. Undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."
    M. F. T. Malone, Choice

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    Customer reviews

    19th Sep 2013 by Diego

    Its a great book, which I used to have more alanisis of the construction of the Latin American state, on the other hand their analysis patterns are a major advance that I would like to repeat.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521747318
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The difficulties of state building
    2. The social foundations of state building in the contemporary era
    3. State formation in Chile and Peru: institution building and atrophy in unlikely settings
    4. State formation in Argentina and Uruguay: agrarian capitalism, elite conflict, and the construction of cooperation
    5. Divergence reinforced: the timing of political inclusion and state strength in Chile and Peru
    6. The social question and the state: mass mobilization, suffrage, and institutional development in Argentina and Uruguay
    7. Conclusions, implications, and extensions: social foundations, Germany/Prussia, and the limits of contemporary state building

  • Author

    Marcus J. Kurtz, Ohio State University
    Marcus J. Kurtz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Ohio State University. He is the author of Free Market Democracy and the Chilean and Mexican Countryside (Cambridge, 2004). He has had articles published in the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, the Journal of Politics, Politics and Society, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Theory and Society.

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