Speaker: Steve Levitsky, Professor of Government, Department of Government, Harvard University
Strong parties are critical for democracy. Yet party-building has proven extraordinary difficult in Latin America during the Third Wave of democratization. Based on his recent volume, Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America, this presentation looks at what it takes to build robust political parties in Latin America. It argues that strong parties emerge not out of democracy, as is widely believed, but rather out of periods of intense (and often violent) conflict.
Steven Levitsky is Professor of Government at Harvard University. His research interests include political parties, authoritarianism and democratization, and weak and informal institutions, with a focus on Latin America. He is author of Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective (2003), co-author (with Lucan Way) of Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (2010), and co-editor of Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness (2005); Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (2006); and The Resurgence of the Left in Latin America (2011). He is currently engaged in research on the durability of revolutionary regimes, the relationship between populism and competitive authoritarianism, problems of party-building in contemporary Latin America, and party collapse and its consequences for democracy in Peru.