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Political scientist O'Donnell publishes new book

Author: Arts and Letters


“Dissonances: Democratic Critiques of Democracy,” by Guillermo O’Donnell, Helen Kellogg Professor of Government and fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame, was recently published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

The book is a collection of essays examining academic critiques of democracies. O’Donnell argues that while progress has been made in democratization in Latin America, an authoritarian legacy continues to challenge that advancement.

“We should never forget the horrors of the authoritarian regimes that plagued a good part of Latin America,” he writes in the preface. “This is the point of no return, and nothing will ever justify returning to such regimes. On the other hand, the flaws of our present democracies are as serious as they are evident.”

According to Charles D. Kenney of the University of Oklahoma, O’Donnell has for a long time “explored the various ways in which the democracies of Latin America, many of them new, failed to meet expectations held out for them by citizens, analysts and political actors. The articles collected here represent some of the very best thinking by an author who remains one of the most creative and insightful political theorists, whose work is deeply grounded in empirical observation, whose ideas are consistently robust, and whose reflections can be both provocative and of great practical use.”

O’Donnell joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1982. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received the Lifetime Achievement in Political Science Prize from the International Political Science Association last year. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of many books, including “Counterpoints: Selected Essays on Authoritarianism and Democratization” and “The Quality of Democracy: Theory and Applications.”

Contact: Professor O’Donnell at 616-683-9856 or _

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on October 18, 2007.