Questions for Discussion
P. Klarén, "Lost Promise: Explaining Latin American Underdevelopment"
H. Wiarda, "Toward a Framework for the Study of Political Change
in the Iberic-Latin Tradition: The Corporative Model"
L. Harrison, "Underdevelopment is a State of Mind"
- What, according to Klarén, were major intellectual precursors of
the modernization theory developed in the 1950s and 1960s? What key
assumptions did theorists as diverse as Marx, Weber, and Durkheim share
that subsequently informed modernization theory?
- When and why did modernization appear as a theory of social change?
What are the main tenets of modernization theory? Do all modernization
theorists share the same core set of assumptions about the nature of
social, economic and political change in the world?
- Why, according to Harrision, accounts for Latin America’s underdevelopment?
Is Harrison a modernization theorist? In what ways is his analysis
consistent with the modernization approach? In what ways, if any,
does it depart from earlier versions of this theory?
- On what grounds does Howard Wiarda critique modernization theory?
What evidence does he cite in support of his critique? Do you find
his analysis and evidence compelling?
- Wiarda offers an alternative theory of political change in Latin America
based in the idea of a "Iberic-Latin" tradition and corporatist
political institutions and practices. What are the main ideological,
social, economic and political characteristics associated with this
tradition? How do corporatist institutions function and how do they
differ from pluralist political institutions? How have these institutions
affected political development in the region?
- How, according to Wiarda, does political change occur within the corporatist
model? What evidence does he cite in support of his view of change?
What factors might lead to more significant change in this model? What
does Wiarda think will characterize the new model of politics? Have
such changes occurred in the past three decades since Wiarda published
- In what ways does Wiarda’s view differ from prior approaches to explaining
change that were derived from modernization theory? Is Wiarda’s theory
really a version of modernization theory or is it a different animal?
page last modified October 11, 2001