Chapter

Introduction

Barry Cannon

in Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780719077715
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701959 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077715.003.0001
Introduction

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This book explores the presidency of Hugo Chávez Frías of Venezuela (1999–present) in the context of theory on populism. It examines issues such as the continued relevance of populism itself in Latin American politics, populism's origins in the profound race/class cleavages found in the region, its ideological diversity, with, however, a programmatic emphasis on popular participation, and finally populist claims to legitimacy within a region with weak democratic institutions. It contends that it is sometimes necessary to step outside and infringe existing institutionality when that institutionality lacks legitimacy and is acting against democracy's progressive tendencies. It also looks at the dispute on populism between the ‘historical/sociological perspective’ of Gino Germani and others, and the ‘ideological perspective’ of Ernesto Laclau. Central to Germani's theories was the belief that modernisation processes formed the context in which populism emerged in Latin America. The book concludes by looking at the role of neoliberal globalisation in increasing inequality in the region.

Keywords: Hugo Chávez; Venezuela; populism; Latin America; politics; democracy; globalisation; modernisation; Gino Germani; Ernesto Laclau

Chapter.  4874 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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