Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 370 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Richard Lachmann

Committee Members

Ronald N Jacobs, Elizabeth P Berman


Mexico, Neoliberalism, Populism, State-Making, Venezuela

Subject Categories

Latin American Studies | Sociology


Populism, as the Manichean juxtaposition of the elites versus the common citizen ("the People"), has become an entrenched phenomenon of the modern moral order. Political populism, which feeds from and reinforces the “elite vs the people” confrontation in the political arena, has been a recurrent feature of Latin American politics. The present work studies one its strains, say, the successful conflation of populism and the left in Venezuela—and the lack thereof in Mexico. Through process-tracing (George & Bennet 2005) several mechanisms explaining the success of the radical populist (Chavista) movement in Venezuela are identified, while a comparison with Mexico helps to show how the absence of others mechanisms contributes to explain different outcomes. This chain of mechanisms defines the structure of political opportunities that allows the populist movement to reach the office and remain in power in spite of severe criticism and fierce opposition.