Popular Religions and the Building of Democracy in Latin America: Saving the Tocquevillian Parallel Conference Paper uri icon


  • Do Latin America’s popular religions contribute to the formation of citizens and the development of civil society—the infrastructure of democracy—in ways that parallel the operation of the religious factor in the development of North American democracy as perceived by Tocqueville? Examining evidence prompting both negative and positive responses, this essay argues that Catholicism, Pentecostalism, and Afro-Brazilian Spiritism all contain tendencies that contribute to the development of pluralist democracy in the Latin American republics.

publication date

  • 1999