Bounded Missions

Military Regimes and Democratization in the Southern Cone and Brazil

By (author) Craig L. Arceneaux

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 September 2002

Length of book:

280 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271021041

Scholars of Latin American politics have been challenged to account for the varied outcomes of the transitions from authoritarian to democratic government that have occurred in many countries south of the border during the past two decades. What explains why some transitions were relatively smooth, with the military firmly in control of the process, while others witnessed substantial concessions by the military to civilian leaders, or even total military collapse? Rather than focus on causes external to the military, such as the previous legacy of democratic rule, severe economic crisis, or social protest, as other scholars have done, Craig Arceneaux draws attention to the important variables internal to the military, such as its unity or ability to coordinate strategy. Using this "historical-institutionalist" approach, he compares five different transitions in Brazil and three countries of the Southern Cone—Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay—to show what similarities and differences existed and how the differences may be attributed to variations in the internal institutional structure and operation of the military.

Bounded Missions presents a well-argued, original argument about why military regimes in Brazil and the Southern Cone exhibited widely varying abilities to control the transition to civilian rule. It is a good example of a new wave of historical-institutional scholarship that is providing new answers to important questions about politics.”

—Anthony W. Pereira, Tulane University