This book, originally published in 1992 in French, is based on the seven years of research that resulted in the author’s 1990 doctoral thesis. It is not the first book Demélas has dedicated to the Andes: in 1980 she published Nationalisme sans nation? La Bolivie XIX-XXsiècles and in 1987 and 1988, together with Yves Saint-Geours, Jerusalén y Babilonia: Religión y política en América del Sur; El caso del Ecuador and La vie quotidienne en Amérique du Sud au temps de Bolivar.

The present volume, inspired by the ideas of Max Weber, presents a broad description and analysis of “the representations, social structures, and political practices” (p. 29) of the principal actors of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru in order to examine the reasons for the failed democractic experiments of the nineteenth century. She does not limit herself to an account of these failures but rather examines their situations (taken as...

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