Venezuela's Transition to Illiberalism, Vol. 1: Hugo Chávez and 21st Century Socialism (HYBRID)

David Smilde
Work-in-Progress Seminars are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. In accordance with University guidelines for social distancing, these seminars will offer a possibility of remote participation. To attend either in person or virtually, please register here to receive the pre-circulated paper and further details on joining on campus or by computer or phone.

David Smilde
Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations, Tulane University
Senior Fellow, Washington Office on Latin America
Kellogg Institute Visiting Fellow

The first volume of Venezuela's Transition to Illiberalsm focuses on the second term of Hugo Chávez. By tracing its projects of governance in multiple domains, as well as the conflicts they produced, Smilde will show how the Chávez government’s push for “21st Century socialism” addressed real issues of inequality and genuinely improved people’s lives, at the same time that it contained the historic flaws of Leninist projects, generating centripetal forces that made these projects atrophy. To do this, Smilde develops a “full conflict theory” using the work of neo-Weberian sociologist Michael Mann. Smilde analyzes Venezuela’s turn to socialism in terms of constellations of power networks based on the four sources of social power Mann outlines: ideological, economic, political, and military. Using this framework, Smilde analyzes multiple domains of governance including the economy, electoral politics, participatory policy, citizen security, and foreign relations.

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Speakers / Related People
David Smilde

This profile was current as of 2021, when he was part of the on-campus Kellogg community. David Smilde is the Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations at Tulane University and a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, where he curates the blog Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights. His research focuses on religion, culture, and social and political conflict...
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