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12 Dec 2005
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£61.00
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9781403970862
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08 Apr 2011
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9780230619692
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

During the last two decades the judiciary has come to play an increasingly important political role in Latin America. Constitutional courts and supreme courts are more active in counterbalancing executive and legislative power than ever before. At the same time, the lack of effective citizenship rights has prompted ordinary people to press their claims and secure their rights through the courts. This collection of essays analyzes the diverse manifestations of the judicialization of politics in contemporary Latin America, assessing their positive and negative consequences for state-society relations, the rule of law, and democratic governance in the region. With individual chapters exploring Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, it advances a comparative framework for thinking about the nature of the judicialization of politics within contemporary Latin American democracies.


Description

During the last two decades the judiciary has come to play an increasingly important political role in Latin America. Constitutional courts and supreme courts are more active in counterbalancing executive and legislative power than ever before. At the same time, the lack of effective citizenship rights has prompted ordinary people to press their claims and secure their rights through the courts. This collection of essays analyzes the diverse manifestations of the judicialization of politics in contemporary Latin America, assessing their positive and negative consequences for state-society relations, the rule of law, and democratic governance in the region. With individual chapters exploring Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, it advances a comparative framework for thinking about the nature of the judicialization of politics within contemporary Latin American democracies.


Reviews

'This exceptional volume does a splendid job of illuminating the myriad dimensions of the judicialization of politics in Latin America. No phenomenon is more central to understanding recent trends in democratic governance throughout the region. The first-rate authors treat the subject from diverse perspectives, with impressive conceptual sophistication, rigor, and sensitivity to national variations. The result is a thoroughly original and stimulating contribution that fills an important gap in the literature and that will doubtless be of keen interest to academics, policy makers and advocates alike.' - Michael Shifter, Vice President for Policy, Inter-American Dialogue

'This book eloquently maps the judicialization of politics in contemporary Latin America and its consequences. It weaves politics, law and society together into a rich and sophisticated analysis of the inter-relationship between judicialization and Latin American democracy in the 1990s and 2000s. Its comparative framework makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of how judicialization enables and constrains democratization and the search for justice. This is an impressive and original work that fills an important gap in the literature.' - David Sugarman, Professor at Law School, Lancaster University, UK

'This book is essential reading to understand the important new trend of judicial activism in Latin America. Does it strengthen democracy by enhancing individual rights, the rule of law, the propriety of the exercise of power, and electoral fairness? Or as part of a 'judicialization of politics', is it the expression of an unwarranted instrumentalization of the judiciary by powerful actors as well as an extension of judicial authority over domains best left to political negotiations in governmental and legislative arenas? Does it, then, undermine rather than contribute to deepening the quality of democracy? In a set of highly nuanced analysis the authors provide evidence for all these assessments.' - J. Samuel Valenzuela, Kellogg Institute

'The book should be of interest to policy-makers and practitioners alike. Political scientists and legal scholars will all find food for thought and directions for future research. Its mixture of US, European and Latin American perspectives and forthcoming translation into Spanish also make this one of those rare works which promises to provoke and sustain genuine exchange and dialogue'. - Cath Collins, International Affairs

'All the chapters are written by experts in the field and are of high quality, combining a precise analysis of each specific case with reflection on the factors driving judicialisation, its potential and the risks it presents for democracy...This volume opens important avenues for a rigorous analysis of judicialisation in Latin America and covers a broad range of themes and countries.' - Rodrigo Uprimny, Latin American Studies


Contents

Introduction:The Judicialization of Politics in Latin America; R.Sieder, L.Schjolden& A.Angell
Judicialization of Politics: The Changing Political Role of the Judiciary in Mexico; P.Domingo
Changing Dynamics:The Political Impact of Costa Rica's Constitutional Court; B.M.Wilson
The Judicialization of Politics in Colombia: The Old and the New; M.José Cepeda Espinosa
The Judicialization of Chilean Politics: The Rights Revolution That Never Was; J.A.Couso
Judicialization and Regime Transformation: The Venezuelan Supreme Court; R.Pérez-Perdomo
Petitioning and Creating Rights: Judicialization in Argentina; C.Smulovitz Community Justice Institutions and Judicialization: Lessons from Rural Peru; J.Faundez
Private Conflicts, Public Powers: Domestic Violence in the Courts in Latin America; F.Macaulay
Constitutionalism, the expansion of Justice and the Judicialization of Politics in Brazil; R.B.Arantes
The Transnational Dimension of the Judicialization of Politics in Latin America; K.Sikkink
Afterword; G.O'Donnell


Authors


RACHEL SIEDER is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the Institute of Latin American Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, UK.
 
LINE SCHJOLDEN is Hewlett Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Law and Politics at the Institute of Latin American Studies, London and the Latin American Centre, St. Antony's, Oxford, UK.
 
ALAN ANGELL is Director of the Latin American Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford, UK.