Document Type



Political Science

First Advisor's Name

Eduardo A. Gamarra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Astrid Arraras

Third Advisor's Name

Marifeli Perez Stable

Fourth Advisor's Name

John F. Stack, Jr.


democratization, Latin American politics, race and politics, democratic transitions, Politics Dominican Republic, race and democratization

Date of Defense



This dissertation explores the relationship between race and democratization. Through the examination of the case of the Dominican Republic, this study challenges mainstream explanations of democratic transitions. At its core, this dissertation aims at calling attention to the absence of race and ethnic allegiances as explanatory variables of the democratic processes and debates in the region. By focusing on structural variables, the analysis shies away from elite and actor-centered explanations that fall short in predicting the developments and outcomes of transitions. The central research questions of this study are: Why is there an absence of the treatment of race and ethnic allegiances during the democratic transitions in Latin America and the Caribbean? How has the absence of ethnic identities affected the nature and depth of democratic transitions? Unlike previous explanations of democratic transitions, this dissertation argues that the absence of race in democratic transitions has been a deliberate attempt to perpetuate limited citizenship by political and economic elites. Findings reveal a difficulty to overcome nationalist discourses where limited citizenship has affected the quality of democracy. Original field research data for the study has been gathered through semi-structured interviews and focus groups conducted from October 2008 to December 2009 in the Dominican Republic.





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