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Elites, Masses, and the Struggle for Democracy in Mexico

In this book, a new general model of delayed transitions to democracy is proposed and used to analyze Mexico's transition to democracy. This model attempts to explain the slow, gradual dynamics of change characteristic of delayed transitions to democracy and is developed in a way that makes it generalizable to other regional contexts. Utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data based on an original data set of forty thousand individual interviews, Schatz analyzes how the historical authoritarian corporate shaping of interests and forms of political consciousness has fractured the social base of the democratic opposition and inhibited democratizing social action. Using comparative cases of delayed transitions to democracy, the author's conclusions challenge and improve upon current theories of democratization.

In elaborating a model for the delayed transition to democracy, the author argues that the emphasis on transformative industrialism in both political modernization and class-analytic theories of social bases of democratization is modeled too closely on the western European process of democratization to allow a full explanation of the case of Mexico's transition to democracy. In addition, she argues that a delayed transitions model provides a more adequate explanation of gradual transitions to democracy because such a model builds on a the insights of structural theories regarding the social bases of anti-authoritarian mobilization. To support the delayed transitions model, Schatz compares Mexico with Taiwan and Tanzania, countries also characterized by delayed transitions to democracy in the late twentieth century. This important book fills a considerable gap in the literature on democratization at the end of the century.