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Volume 57 / Social Sciences


JOSE Z. GARCIA, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University

DURING THE MID-1990S, political writing on Central America benefitted from three trends. First, Central Americans, sometimes funded by private foundations, increased their coverage of elections, political parties and institutions, often explicitly within democratic frameworks. These efforts helped to create a richer empirical and contextual foundation for understanding Central American politics, and increased the level of political writing in the region to be commensurate with writings by scholars outside the region. Some outstanding examples are works by Cerdas Cruz (item bi 96000655), Vallejo (item bi 96000640), Aguilera Peralta (item bi 96000966), Nobel prize-winner Rigoberta Menchú (item bi 96000654), and Herrera (item bi 96000971).

Second, the improvement of analytical efforts explaining political crises in Central America during the late 1970s and early 1980s provided a stronger theoretical basis for scholarly discussion and research. Noteworthy entries are those by Spalding (item bi 96001006), Velázquez (item bi 96000718), Grenier (item bi 95020182), Anderson (item bi 94006895), and Paige (item bi 96005633). The latter two and a collection of six essays edited by Doyle et al. (item bi 99000636) study UN action in El Salvador and Cambodia, proving excellent examples of a third trend, an increase in the number and quality of comparative case studies.

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