In This Review

Citizenship in Latin America
Citizenship in Latin America
By Joseph S. Tulchin and Meg Ruthenburg (eds.)
Lynne Rienner, 2006, 329 pp

The outstanding Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars offers this rich tasting of musings by notable democracy theorists (including Frances Hagopian, Philip Oxhorn, and Deborah Yashar) on struggles to deepen or redefine citizenship in Latin America. Especially juicy are the sharp debates among the contributors. Joseph Carens, of the University of Toronto, slices fellow authors for their implicit devaluation of electoral democracy and for depicting individualism as incompatible with economic justice. Christopher Sabatini, of the Council of the Americas, skewers theorists who would blame recent "neo-liberal" reforms for long-standing civic deficits or who would invent false dilemmas by denying space for citizen participation in representative democracy. Writing on Ecuador, César Montúfar reveals the antipolitical discourse, all too common in Latin America, as a dangerous stain on democracy itself. The more genial editors conclude that Latin American citizens today enjoy a significantly expanding menu of freedoms, expressed variously through street protests, innovative scrutiny of the public trust, and active participation in decision-making, even as many bitter battles lie ahead.