Course level: Bachelor
University of Zurich
Bachelor’s-level course in Political Behavior
As in other young democracies around the world, periodic elections are held almost everywhere in Latin America. At the same time, countries differ vastly in the quality of their democracies. This seminar focuses on the role of parties in political representation, a central element of democracy. The quality of democracy is compromised when voters do not choose parties based on their programmatic promises (e.g., in the field of economic policy), but rather due to clientelistic inducements or based on charismatic mobilization. Compared to these two alternatives, the programmatic vote is highly demanding. The formation of party systems that are responsive to the interests of citizens is therefore part of a larger process of democratization in which both historical factors and individual parties – with their specific strategies and profiles – play an important role. The final part of the course covers the “Left Turn” and the more recent radical right backlash in the region.