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Authoritarian Coercion by Democratic Means: The Paradox of Police Reform in Latin America

Authoritarian Coercion by Democratic Means: The Paradox of Police Reform in Latin America
170 St. George Street, JHB room 100
Time: Nov 3rd, 3:00 pm End: Nov 3rd, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Political Science, Latin American, Diaspora/Transnational, 2000-, 1950-2000
Lecture by Yanilda Gonzalez, Harvard University

The Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies is pleased to present:

Dr. Yanilda González, Democracy Fellow, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University

Authoritarian Coercion by Democratic Means: the Paradox of Police Reform in Latin America

Why do democratic states often exhibit distinctly authoritarian modes of coercion? Dr. Gonzalez
demonstrates that authoritarian coercive institutions persist under democracy, not because politicians
are unresponsive to societal demands, but rather because fragmentation among different societal
groups may render reforming defective police institutions electorally disadvantageous. She challenges
the conventional notion of security as a public good, and instead show that it is quite often dependent
upon distributive contestation and electoral competition. Comparing police institutions in Buenos Aires
Province, São Paulo State, and Colombia, she shows that coercive institutions in the context of Latin
American democracies pose a paradox. While building state capacity in the provision of security has
been an important challenge for new democracies, democracy, too, may pose an important challenge for
reforming coercive institutions. The project is based on twenty-two months of immersive qualitative
field research in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, during which she conducted nearly 200 in-depth
interviews, participant observation, and archival research.

Yanilda González is a Democracy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance
and Innovation at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She received her Ph.D. in
Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University and her B.A. in Politics and Latin American Studies
from New York University. Yanilda's research interests are broadly focused on questions of state
capacity and citizenship, and her current book manuscript examines the politics of coercive institutions
in democracies. Prior to starting her Ph.D., Yanilda worked in human rights organizations in the United
States and Argentina on issues relating to security, policing, and democracy.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at (416) 946-8464.

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