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Política y gobierno

Print version ISSN 1665-2037


RIVERA, Mauricio. Literature on State Repression in Democratic Regimes: Theory, Methods, Findings, and Challenges. Polít. gob [online]. 2010, vol.17, n.1, pp.59-95. ISSN 1665-2037.

Some democracies around the world -including those from Latin America- present equal or higher levels of state repression than the global mean of autocratic regimes. Despite the political and normative relevance of this phenomenon, comparative research on democratic repression is scanty and poorly systematized. Introducing the distinction between centralized and decentralized state repression, and considering advances derived from the global agenda and area studies of Latin America, this article presents a review of theories and empirical explanations that can contribute to the construction of a theory of democratic state repression. Moreover, this paper presents a catalog about the challenges related to the processes of theory generation and empirical evaluation, and offers alternatives to those challenges. The main conclusion is that modeling the use of state violence in terms of principal-agent relations (electedpoliticians-state security agencies, state security agencies-citizenship) LA-area studies offer fruitful analytical tools for comparative research on democratic state repression.

Keywords : state repression; centralized state repression; decentralized state repression; human rights violations; democratic regimes; research methods; Latin America.

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