UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Populism and the second crisis of incorporation in Latin America Boyd, Jaimie Ann


Beginning with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, populist leaders have come to power in many Latin American countries. I argue that this recent wave of populism results from demands for incorporation made by marginalized, unorganized groups. Their demands are a reflection of acute inequality and, when aggregated, lead to crisis. Populist movements, parties, and leaders tend to emerge during such crises because they are able to take advantage of the presence of groups that become de-incorporated or that were never incorporated and mobilize them within existing state structures. This is a distinctive pattern in highly unequal societies where a full set of rights and freedoms has not been universalized. I illustrate the usefulness of my approach by applying it to the rise of Chávez in Venezuela. I conclude that, where populism enables meaningful incorporation of marginalized groups, it may ultimately provide an improved basis for long-term democracy in Latin America.

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