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Title: Democratic reform and deliberative politics in Mexico
Author: Higareda, Felipe Carlos Betancourt
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 8042
Awarding Body: The Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2010
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The present dissertation is a study of the quality of democracy in Mexico. Its central argument is that Habermas' idea of deliberative democracy and Mansbridge's related idea of deliberative neo-pluralism provide benchmarks which enable us to define the quality and identify the potential of democracy in Mexico. They provide ideal and practical points of reference which make it possible to identify some fledgling elements of genuinely deliberative democracy within the political institutional system, electoral system and media of Mexico. Secondly, they make it possible to identify the structural, institutional and cultural conditions that stand in the way of essential political values (such as accountability and citizen autonomy) that are indispensable for the realisation of greater deliberative quality. Thirdly, they make it possible to identify the changes needed not only to ensure the survival of democracy in Mexico, but to improve its quality. The main challenges to democracy (the prevalence of patronage politics and impunity before the law) that these structural conditions cause are systemic, because they shape not only the political system, but also the social and economic systems. The first substantive chapter explores relations between the executive and legislature since 2000, and finds some evidence of institutional reform and (limited) attitudinal change. The second examines the elections of 2006, and finds that despite some improvement in electoral justice and opposition access to the media, the political culture was hostile to citizen participation and to public deliberation. The extent to which the leading political parties are open in their internal processes to practices and forms of behaviour conducive to deliberation is then explored, and the conclusion reached is that for all three, for varying reasons, deliberative commitments are little in evidence. The fourth substantive chapter looks at local-level politics, and concludes again that a lack of transparency and accountability, combined with voting systems that limit the need for negotiation and compromise, render the area unpromising for the development of deliberative practice. As regards the media, the finding is that Mexico is far from having an ideal informational environment capable of improving the quality of public opinion, encouraging citizenship in civil society and developing a public sphere conducive to a democratic form of government. The balance-sheet drawn up at the end is largely negative. But it is concluded that the adoption of deliberative democracy and democratic deliberation as normative points of reference in relation to Mexico's politics, culture and society is justified as it reveals with clarity both the overall profile of the quality of Mexican democracy, and some real if limited evidence of potential for deliberative development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available