Chapter

Structural fractures, crises, the state and the emergence of Chávez  

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/9780719077715.003.0003
Structural fractures, crises, the state and the emergence of Chávez  

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This chapter discusses Jürgen Habermas's ‘legitimation crises’ model and argues that Venezuelan society did not manage to achieve sufficient levels of robustness and inclusiveness to avoid a legitimation crisis of the entire system. This chapter examines these issues in an integrated manner, arguing that social fissures based on class and race have been integrated into Venezuela's development strategy, undermining it, as they perpetuate, and in turn are perpetuated by, the country's economic dependency on the advanced capitalist countries. To prove this, the chapter first analyses data supporting the thesis of Venezuelan economic dependence and then goes on to examine the rise and fall of the Punto Fijo system. It also contends that Hugo Chávez's emergence signals a polarisation around race and class, with Chávez finding support amongst the poorer darker skinned groups while the opposition support rests in the lighter skinned middle and upper social groups. Finally, the chapter considers the rise of neoliberalism and the death of a united Venezuela.

Keywords: Jürgen Habermas; legitimation crises model; legitimation; social fissures; class; race; Venezuela; Punto Fijo; Hugo Chávez; economic dependency

Chapter.  9523 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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