The Transformation of Democracy and Populism in Latin America



Isidoro Cheresky, University of Buenos Aires; CLAS Tinker Professor
Carlos de la Torre, University of Kentucky, Lexington
Martin Plot, School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts

Date and Time

February 27, 2015 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM February 26.

Conference Description 


There is currently a worldwide debate regarding the transformation of democracy. The representative system (political parties, parliamentary bodies, and the executive government) has been weakened and in some cases displaced by non-electoral representative actors (mass media, judicial magistrates, public commissions, etc.) and by intense manifestations of civic empowerment that remain politically active well after elections. As a result, the legitimacy of government decisions is consistently called into question. This evolution of democracy at the beginning of the 21st century is particularly apparent in Latin America, but it is affecting the quality and stability of democracy in many countries around the globe.

One element of the transformation has been the repeated emergence of populist governments, characterized by the informal practice of power. These movements, which frequently include marginalized sectors of society and identify with charismatic leadership, exert substantial power in a number of countries. The expansion of regimes with populist features in the context of electoral democracies has led to several unresolved questions that will be discussed in the seminar.



9:15     Coffee 

9:30     Introduction, Isidoro Cheresky, Full Professor, University of Buenos Aires; CLAS Tinker Professor

9:40     “The Global Democratic Recession and Its Implications for Latin America”

             Larry Diamond, CDDRL, Stanford

10:15   “Populism and the Politics of the Extraordinary”

             Carlos de la Torre, Professor of Sociology, University Kentucky, Lexington

11:15   “Latin America and the Theological, Epistemological and Aesthetic Regimes of Politics,” Martin Plot, School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts

12:15-12:30  Concluding Discussion          



Isidoro Cheresky

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies


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