Authoritarianism and Democratization : Soldiers and Workers in Argentina, 1976-1983

Authoritarianism and Democratization : Soldiers and Workers in Argentina, 1976-1983


Military rule in Argentina from 1976 to 1983 was a classic case of bureaucratic authoritarianism. This book now presents for the first time in English a close look at that country's experience, providing new information on legal and institutional aspects of the Argentine regime and the intricate interaction between military rulers and trade unionists, while offering a model for the study of regimes in general.

Integrating insights from a wide range of literature, Gerardo Munck advances a novel conceptual framework for the study of political regimes and regime change. He follows the life cycle of regimes from founding through consolidation to demise, identifying critical explanatory factors and showing how challenges faced by governing elites in one phase affect subsequent political developments.

In explaining Argentina's experience with bureaucratic authoritarianism, Munck provides a compelling account of why that country's military rulers were only partially successful in designing a new institutional order and why they eventually fell, in a precipitous and uncontrolled manner, from power. He attributes their failure to the military's lack of cohesion and opposition to their initiatives, and shows that both of these factors were reinforced by the interim institutional arrangement the military created. He particularly shows how the exclusion of labor, a sign of military power, unwittingly undermined the military rulers, preventing the successful institutionalization, and ultimately precipitating the collapse, of bureaucratic authoritarianism.

Munck's comparison of the Argentine case with Chile from 1973 to 1990 and Brazil from 1964 to 1985 in the concluding chapter provides a further test of his theoretical model, while his analysis of the development of democracy in Argentina after 1983 demonstrates how important the legacies of authoritarian rule were. His study makes a vital contribution to our understanding of both regime development and a critical period of Argentine history.

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Available Format


Gerardo L. Munck
Paperback | 364 pages
152 x 229 x 24mm | 540g
Publication date
24 Aug 1998
Pennsylvania State University Press
Publication City/Country
Pennsylvania, United States