Book project on the end of Latin America’s “left turn”

Santiago Anria

Dickinson College

April 6, 2022 12:00PM zoom

WHO: Santiago Anria is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at Dickinson College, and 2021-22 Cisneros Visiting Scholar at Harvard DRCLAS. His research focuses on social movements and parties in Latin America and has appeared in journals including Politics & Society, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Latin American Politics and Society. He is the author of “When Movements Become Parties: The Bolivian MAS in Comparative Perspective” (Cambridge University Press, Studies in Comparative Politics Series, 2018), which examines the origins and evolution of movement-based parties. He is currently working on a comparative-historical project that explores the interaction between social mobilization, polarization processes, and regime dynamics in Latin America. Anria received a PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tulane University’s Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR).

WHAT: "Democracy and Polarization: Latin America After the Left Turn"
Latin America’s “left turn” at the beginning of the twenty-first century was unprecedented in its scope and duration, producing 32 presidential victories by left-of-center parties or leaders in 11 different countries between 1998 and 2015. Despite notable achievements in reducing poverty and extreme inequalities, leftist parties found it difficult to “deepen” democracy by empowering popular majorities, and they suffered a series of agonizing political defeats between 2015 and 2019 that allowed conservative forces to reclaim their customary hold on state power. This project traces the different origins and trajectories in power of “populist” and “social democratic” currents within the Latin American left. Through a comparative analysis of several leftist cases, it also examines how their alternative conceptions of democracy carried the seeds of their own demise, setting the stage for new forms of political polarization in the region.