Civil-Military Relations in Latin America: New Analytical Perspectives. DAVID PION-BERLIN (ed.): Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Shawn C. Smallman


This collection of essays by David Pion-Berlin examines civil-military relations in Latin America during a period of uncertain democratization. In this timely study, Pion-Berlin argues that scholars need to adopt new analytical perspectives because of changes in the international order, as well as trends in political science scholarship. Pion-Berlin states that the study of civil military relations in Latin America has been hampered by its isolation from comparative politics. He believes that the field has not taken advantage of "theoretical innovations from the outside that could have potentially valuable applications within. Instead, it has fallen back on itself, dredging up familiar ideas that have yielded diminishing returns over time" (p. 2). Pion-Berlin's critique of the state of the scholarship is convincing. Major changes --the end of the Cold War, the rising importance of anti-U.S. sentiment within some regional militaries, the ideological dominance of neo-liberalism, and the growing power of globalization-- call for scholars to rethink many shibboleths. Yet this volume is uneven. Despite some extremely good articles, some important issues are untouched and opportunities missed. 

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