• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, Political Sciences, Economic History, Political Economy, Latin American Studies

This course explores the patterns of political and economic change in modern Latin America. It begins with the rise of industrialisation, state-led development (ISI) and the emergence of populism in the 1930s-40s, the wave of military coups of the 1960s-70s, the processes of democratisation and neoliberalism of the 1980s-90s, and the regional turn to the Left plus the emergence of a post-reform agenda in the 2000s. Covering five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela), this course will investigate the causes and consequences of populism, revolution, military authoritarian and bureaucratic authoritarian rule, democratisation, and neoliberalism. It will also consider topics such as the 'weak democracy syndrome' plus critical issues for Latin American democracy and development such a violence and insecurity, inequality, social inclusion/exclusion, popular participation, social mobilisations, and the rise of indigenous politics. The course compares a variety of theoretical approaches (modernisation, cultural, institutionalist, personal-leadership, and post-structuralist interpretations) in order to explain both change and continuity, and the differences that exist across the countries that have been chosen for in-depth analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the dominant patterns of political and economic change in Latin America
  2. Explain the differences in politics across the countries under study and of the contexts within which they operate.
  3. Apply and compare the concepts and theoretical approaches used to study the region and evaluate its progress.
  4. Compare and analyse complex problems of politics and development in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela through written analysis.
  5. Structure and write a policy brief or essay on a specific Latin American  development issue.

Indicative Assessment

Essay or policy brief plan of 500 words (10%) LO 3,5
Written essay or policy brief of 2,500 words (40%) LO 1,2,4,5
Final examination, 2 hours (50%) LO 1,2,3,

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of workshops and workshop like activities; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level Political Science (POLS) courses, or with permission of the convener.

Prescribed Texts

Kingstone, Peter. 2011. The Political Economy of Latin America: Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development. New York: Routledge.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2403 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person View

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