State and nation making in Latin America and Spain: Republics of the possible

Miguel A. Centeno, Agustin E. Ferraro

Research output: Book/ReportBook

35 Scopus citations


State building as the development of institutional capacity has become a central topic of discussion in twenty-first-century social science. Many studies have shown that public institutions are an important (some would argue the most important) determinant of long-term rates of economic growth. In order to understand the difi culties and pitfalls of state building in the contemporary world, it is necessary to analyze previous efforts to consolidate institutional capacity in conl ictive contexts. The present book provides a comprehensive analysis of the process of state and nation building in Latin America and Spain from independence to the 1930s. The book examines how Latin American countries and Spain tried to build modern and efficient state institutions for more than a century – without much success. The chapters discuss key processes and challenges of state building. To what extent do historical legacies determine the capacity and reach of states? What are the obstacles to and paths toward the effective consolidation of public authority? How can states best design and create the institutions meant to provide the basic services now associated with citizenship? How can we put together notions of community that include diverse groups and cultures within a single identity, while also respecting the integrity of particular traditions? The Spanish and Latin American experience of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was arguably the first regional stage on which those organizational and political dilemmas that still haunt contemporary societies were faced. This book provides an unprecedented perspective on historical developments by closely following their connection to contemporary outcomes of state- and nation-building projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages469
ISBN (Electronic)9781139342667
ISBN (Print)9781107029866
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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