Book examines crisis of democracy in the Andean region

Author: Arts and Letters


University of Notre Dame political scientist Scott Mainwaring has coedited a new book that analyzes and explains the challenges facing democratic representation in five Andean countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

“The Crisis of Democratic Representation in the Andes,” published by Stanford University Press, is coedited by Ana María Bejarano and Eduardo Pizarro Leongómez, former visiting fellows at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Nine of the 11 contributors are former visiting fellows at the institute.

“Understanding what has gone wrong with democracy in Latin America and many other `third wave’ democracies has become one of the outstanding intellectual challenges of our day,” writes Mainwaring, Kellogg’s director, and his co-editors. "The widespread dissatisfaction with democratic representation is a core ingredient in the crisis of democracy in the Andes and throughout much of Latin America.

In this region, disaffection with democracy, political parties and legislatures has spread to an alarming degree. Many presidents have been forced from office, and many traditional parties have fallen by the wayside.

Mainwaring said that these five countries have the potential to be “negative examples in a region that has historically had strong demonstration and diffusion effects in terms of regime changes.” His new book addresses an important question for Latin America as well as other parts of the world: Why does representation sometimes fail to work?

Mainwaring holds the Eugene Conley Chair in Political Science. Ana María Bejarano is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, and Eduardo Pizarro Leongómez is a professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá.

“The Crisis of Democratic Representation in the Andes,” can be ordered from Stanford University Press at

Originally published by Kelly Roberts &Dennis Brown at on August 30, 2006.