Aarhus, Denmark

Politics in Latin America

when 24 July 2023 - 11 August 2023
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 10 EC
fee EUR 138

Latin America had always been a region of interest for the study of political processes, its constant democratic breakdowns, Bolivia saw three coups d’état from 1969 to 1971, populism, Peron might as well be the president for which the term was created, violent authoritarian regimes like Pinochet in Chile or Videla in Argentina or its violent insurgencies or even terrorist groups like the FARC in Colombia or the Shining Path in Peru. Towards the end of the 20th century, many felt this had changed and there was a feeling of optimism as many countries had experienced consecutive government transitions in democracy. However, recent years have seen a renewed interest in the region. While Chavez’s big leftist and Bolivarian promise turned into an ever more authoritarian government, Bolsonaro ignited the flames of the far right in Brazil. Even Chile, the political and economic darling of the region, saw the outbreak of massive protests that led to a Constituent Assembly that could not win the referendum for the approval of the new text. What was originally deemed as a path towards more democratisation and stable economic growth hit the wall of Latin American reality: an overreliance on commodities for economic growth without strengthening democratic institutions in one of the most unequal regions in the world. In this seminar, we will explore the current political landscape in the region as well as some of the historical paths that got us here.

The course will analyse some of the main political processes in Latin America and their relation to today’s context. Unlike European states, state formation in Latin America came hand in hand with a republican and democratic form of government. However, despite this early optimism, most countries would not have uninterrupted democratic transitions of power until the end of the 20th century. And even where democracy remained on paper, most of the citizens would be excluded from political participation in different forms. Populism, authoritarianism and political violence became the most common characteristics of the countries in the region.

The first part of the course will be a brief overview of the most important historical processes in the region, state formation, authoritarian regimes, political violence, the transition to democracy and the political-party system crisis. The second part will analyse the more recent political events and zoom in on different countries, trying to make sense of the current political landscape.

Course leader

Gabriela Camacho

Target group

Master's level

Fee info

EUR 138: EU/EEA citizens
EUR 1717: NON-EU/EEA citizens


No scholarships available