The process of construction of national states had a decisive moment during the period of revolutions that spanned from the end of the eighteenth century until the mid-nineteenth century. Even if it was a generalized process throughout the Western world, the majority of social scientists that have analyzed it have based their theoretical models on the European and North American experiences. This volume pays particular attention to the historical experience of Latin America and accounts for its distinctive regional and national characteristics through the analysis of cases. It also evokes the existence of certain features of the process that historiography has not sufficiently taken into consideration until now. This book provides the first detailed perspective of the formation of the State’s bureaucracies in Latin America, a long and complex process shaped by the political, economic, social, and cultural conditions of different countries in the continent. These bureaucracies absorbed and institutionalized the pre-existing configurations of power while simultaneously transforming them. The essays included in this book offer an innovative vantage point for the analysis of issues that continue to be crucial in present-day Latin America, such as those that involve the relations between the State and society.
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"This is a necessary and very important book because, first of all, empirical studies about the formation of Latin American bureaucracies remain extremely unusual. And the book has a particularly interesting orientation, given that most of the chapters connect and compare the institutional structures of the colonial administration before independence to the state bureaucracies of the newly independent nations. The empirical studies, in other words, look for continuities as well as ruptures during the key period of transition to independence as well as in a few preceding and following decades. To my knowledge, this has never been attempted before in such a systematic and comprehensive way. The book is a very important and essential contribution, in the second place, because of its wide area of interest. It will appeal strongly to scholars in history and historical sociology as a matter of course, but its interest goes well beyond those fields."Agustín E. FerraroUniversity of SalamancaHispanic American Historical Review, 96: 2 (2016)"The process of transforming colonial entities into sovereign nations is one with which the world had had to contend for the last two hundred plus years. [...] This book is dedicated to discovering how this difficult and arduous task was carried out in Latin America. Although different from what took place and is taking place in other parts of the world, this compilation of studies gives us clear insight into the process each nation state developed in order to become a viable sovereign nation. This material helps us understand the psychological, fiscal, and legal hurdles which had to be overcome. [...] Anyone wanting to understand the development of nations, systems, and bureaucratic structures would do well to read and study this book."Dr Thomas LawProfessor of Interpreting Services, Missional Universitytomlaw.org, 02.09.2017
Juan Carlos Garavaglia is ICREA Research Professor at the UPF, Barcelona and directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris. Since 2009, he has directed the European Research Council project entitled “A Comparative History of the State Building Process in Latin America (1820–1870)”. His most recent publications include Las fuerzas de guerra en la construcción del Estado: América Latina, siglo XIX (Prohistoria Ediciones, Rosario, 2012), edited with Juan Pro Ruiz and Eduardo Zimmermann, and Configuraciones estatales, regiones y sociedades locales. América Latina, siglos XIX-XX (Ediciones Bellaterra/State Building in Latin America, Barcelona, 2011), edited with Claudia Contente.Juan Pro Ruiz is Professor of Contemporary History at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and director of the journal Ayer. Revista de Historia Contemporánea. He is the author of numerous studies related to the historical construction of the State in Spain and Latin America, including Estado, geometría y propiedad (1992), Estado y territorio en España (2007), and El Estatuto Real y la Constitución de 1837 (2010). He is currently directing the research project entitled “The Collective Imagination of the State: Models, Utopias, and Dystopias in the Construction of the Spanish Nation-State from a Comparative Perspective (Eighteenth-Twentieth Centuries)”.