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Arias And Goldstein – Violent Pluralism Notes

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Arias and Goldstein - Violent Pluralism: Understanding the New Democracies of Latin America

The level of violence and threat to security, coupled with increasing inequality in Latin America challenges interpretations of the region as democratic, or even democratizing o In general this is recognized discursively as imperfect, illiberal, incomplete, delegative or disjunctive democracy o Similar qualifiers have been added to the concept of citizenship in Latin America by anthropologists and other social scientists o Nevertheless, no alternative framework for understanding the role of violence in LA politics has been offered
 We need to stop conceiving violence as representing the failure of democratic states and regimes, and move towards a more complete, positive and bottom-up understanding of the role of violence
 'we call attention to violence as an element integral to the configuration of those institutions, as a necessary component of their maintenance, and as an instrument for popular challenges to their legitimacy' (p. 4) 'LA democratic society can be conceptualized as "violently plural", with states, social elites, and subalterns employing violence in the quest to establish or contest regimes of citizenship, justice, rights and a democratic social order' o violent pluralism doesn't mean equivalency of types of violence - i.e. it allows for differentiated access to power and use of violence between groups o the point is that we shouldn't see violence as merely concentrated in the state or in deviant groups - rather, violence is 'critical to the foundation of LA democracies, the maintenance of democratic states, and the political behaviour of democratic citizens'
 violence is a mechanism for keeping in place the institutions and policies of neoliberalism, and an instrument for coping with the problems of neoliberal democracies Violent pluralism arises out of a marriage of political science and anthropology Democratization theory assumes, from the perspective of political science, that transition to democracy is basically an issue of policy, management and organizational structure

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