Civil Society And Democratisation In Comparative Perspective: Latin America And The Middle East

AbstractThe literature on civil society and democratisation has concentrated on comparative studies among those countries undergoing a similar and, in many ways, simultaneous process of democratic transition and consolidation. But few have examined comparatively the question of democratisation in two regions of the world that have seen completely different patterns of political rule and evolution in the course of the past two decades: Latin America and the Middle East. This article is a response to a clarion call for more cross-regional comparative studies. While describing the political, cultural and socioeconomic forces that contributed to the emergence and growth of a dense, democratic civil society in Latin America, particularly during the waning years of the most recent authoritarian period in the region, the article delves into examining the four broad cultural and socioeconomic clusters of forces that impeded and shielded the region from Samuel Huntington's 'third wave' of democracy.