Latin American Perceptions of Regional Identity and Leadership in Comparative Perspective

Janina Onuki Fernando Mouron Francisco Urdinez About the authors

Abstract

Public opinion plays a growing role in foreign policy formation in democratic societies. In this study, we use survey data from The Americas and the World project to establish whether Latin Americans share a common regional identity, and regard Brazil as a regional leader. Our results indicate that the majority of Brazilians do not identify themselves as Latin Americans. Moreover, while they believe their country is the most suitable candidate for regional leadership, they are unwilling to bear the costs of assuming such a role. Our study also explores perceptions of regional identity and Brazilian leadership in other Latin American countries, based on their own respective power aspirations. It shows that less powerful Latin American nations recognise Brazil as a regional leader, but citizens in middle powers, like Argentina and Mexico, still believe their countries should play a prominent regional role.

Keywords:
Latin America; Public Opinion; Foreign Policy; Collective Identity; Regional Leadership; Brazil.

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