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Revista de Sociologia e Política

Print version ISSN 0104-4478On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


VILLA, Rafael Duarte. New south american leadership: cleavages in the stability-instability binomy. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2009, vol.17, n.32, pp.71-82. ISSN 0104-4478.

This article looks at political instability in Latin America, particularly for the countries that make up the Andean region, the Southern Cone and Brazil. We inquire into the causes behind the emergence of new political leadership in these countries and the relationship that such leadership has with situations of political stability or instability. We sustain that the emergence of new leadership in Latin America, which has emerged within a dynamic of political stability and instability cannot be understood solely through hypotheses that give salience to populist traits or flaws in processes of political modernization. Rather, deeper causal explanation for the appearance of such new leadership should be sought in the new cleavages that demonstrate the renovation of elite groups, as well as the emergence of ethnic and social divisions and of new patterns of relationship between social movements and new leadership. We conclude that the rise of new political leadership in the countries that we analyze is generally linked to a legitimacy crisis within the political system. We also hold that "neo-populism" may be an explanatory variable for the emergence of new actors in contexts of political instability, but care must be taken to give adequate emphasis to contextual factors.

Keywords : political elite; neo-populism; Andean region; political instability; political legitimacy; economicism.

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