Decentralization, Democratization, and Informal Power in Mexico (Paperback)Andrew D. Selee (author)
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In the last two decades of the twentieth century, many countries in Latin America freed themselves from the burden of their authoritarian pasts and developed democratic political systems. At the same time, they began a process of shifting many governmental responsibilities from the national to the state and local levels. Much has been written about how decentralization has fostered democratization, but informal power relationships inherited from the past have complicated the ways in which citizens voice their concerns and have undermined the accountability of elected officials. In this book, Andrew Selee seeks to illuminate the complex linkages between informal and formal power by comparing how they worked in three Mexican cities. The process of decentralization is shown to have been intermediated by existing spheres of political influence, which in turn helped determine how much the institution of multiparty democracy in the country could succeed in bringing democracy "closer to home."
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 295 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
-Roderic Ai Camp, Claremont McKenna College
"Andrew Selee has written a compelling, insightful book on decentralization and democracy in Mexico. Based on research that began in 1992, Selee illuminates the changes as well as the continuities in the politics of three Mexican municipalities. Although it mattered that each of the municipalities was governed by a different political party, past networks of informal power endured and mattered as well. Selee's original, nuanced analysis is an extremely valuable contribution to scholarly understanding of democratic institutions."
-Cynthia McClintock, George Washington University
"Andrew Selee's book is a remarkable contribution to our understanding of democratic transition and decentralization in Mexico-two of the most prominent processes shaping the Mexican state and society at the onset of the twenty-first century. Selee's detailed case studies offer a well-organized and representative portrayal of local contexts in Mexico and provide rich insights into municipal governments. Demonstrating intellectual rigor and deep analysis, this excellent book is a must-read for scholars and policy makers interested in recent political developments in Mexico."
-Tonatiuh Guillen Lopez, President, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte
"Through careful analysis, Selee shows that decentralization in Mexico has been shaped by the traditional relationships between central and local political actors. He is convincing that more democratic governments and more effective local governments are constructed over time and are deeply affected by the contexts in which they develop. Decentralization, Democratization, and Informal Power in Mexico is a well-researched, informative, and welcome addition to the literature on decentralization and democratization."
-Merilee S. Grindle, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
"Decentralization, Democratization, and Informal Power in Mexico challenges conventional notions about the interplay of decentralization and democracy. It is now clearly understood that decentralization in developing countries does not always lead to better governance, but Selee's work takes the important step of explaining why this is the case. Its theoretical grounding and the author's rich and insightful discussion of three case studies reveal the pivotal importance of informal power structures for determining the success or failure of decentralization efforts in Mexico. This book not only enriches our understanding of decentralization in Mexico but also provides important insights into decentralization and the role of informal power in the developing world."
-Emily Edmonds-Poli, University of San Diego