Populism and Latin America: context, causes, characteristics and consequences

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:
Populism and Latin America: context, causes, characteristics and consequences

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This chapter provides a working concept of populism which will serve as a theoretical framework for the ensuing analysis of chavismo. The discussion is based on four apparently simple but important questions: What is populism? Why does populism emerge? What are its characteristics? What impact does it have, or rather what are its consequences? In other words, the chapter focuses on what is termed the four Cs; the context, causes, characteristics and consequences of populism. It argues that while the answers to these questions provide a working concept of populism, they also lead to broader and more profound questions which the literature on populism sometimes does not fully answer, such as: What is democracy? Why is democracy so fragile in Latin America? What is political legitimacy? How is political legitimacy gained and secured? For answers to questions such as these it is necessary to enter into broader, more universal, literatures, on the nature of democracy, on politics, on international political economy, on history and on ideology.

Keywords: populism; Latin America; chavismo; democracy; political legitimacy; politics; political economy; history; ideology

Chapter.  8140 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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