Violent Democracies in Latin America (BOK)
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Despite recent political movements to establish democratic rule in Latin American countries, much of the region still suffers from pervasive violence. From vigilantism to human rights violations to police corruption, violence persists in legal and illegal forms by state-sanctioned armies, guerrillas, gangs, drug traffickers, and local community groups seeking self-protection. The everyday presence of violence is in stark contrast to governmental efforts to extend civil, political, and legal rights to all citizens, and is used as evidence of the failure of Latin American countries to achieve true democracy. "Violent Democracies in Latin America" takes the more nuanced view that violence, rather than a social aberration or the result of institutional failure, is intimately bound up with institutions and policies of economic liberalization and democratization in complex and essential ways. Scholars in anthropology, political science, sociology, and history explore how individuals and institutions in Latin American democracies, from rural regions of Colombia and the Dominican Republic to urban centres of Brazil and Mexico, use violence to impose and contest notions of order, rights, citizenship, and justice. Contributors detail the lived realities of citizens and reveal the historical foundations for the violence from which Latin America suffers today. One contributor examines the tightly woven relationship between violent individuals and state officials in Colombia, while another contextualizes local violence in Rio de Janeiro within the transnational political economy of drug trafficking. By advancing the discussion of democratic Latin American regimes beyond the usual binary of success and failure, "Violent Democracies in Latin America" opens up more sophisticated ways to understand the challenges posed by violence and conceive of new institutional and non-institutional frameworks that may lead to the guarantee of human rights in Latin America.