A study of Costa Rican Exceptionalism within the realm of state formation

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The study of the creation of Central American states is a topic that has seen relatively few academic endeavors. Early on in the academic sphere, there was a tendency towards studying the formation of states in Europe the in order to understand the nature and process of state making. However, state formation in Central America differed greatly in many ways to rest of the world, even the rest of Latin America. This paper will focus on the process of state formation as it refers to the Republic of Costa Rica. Anyone who possesses a cursory understanding of the Costa Rican case has no doubt heard of the so-called Costa Rican Exceptionalism. It has been the term used to both summarize and explain the dissonances and divergences between the formation of the state in Costa Rica and the rest of Central America. The purpose of this essay is to attempt to explain this Exceptionalism through a detailed account of the path towards the consolidation of a state in Costa Rica. It is the guiding proposition of this paper that the aforementioned Exceptionalism is due to a combination of visionary state building efforts on the part of local political actors, and a series of fortuitous circumstances present in the early stages of the process. The paper has been divided into SEVEN sections, each with subtitle in the form of a name of an important figure from Costa Rica’s collective historical memory. This division seeks to allow for the reader to navigate the different stages in the formation of the Costa Rican state with ease, but also to illustrate the way in which these notable individuals became symbols of their epoch and, more importantly, of their legacy and the impact their actions had on the formation of a national identity. Before de... ... middle of paper ... ...per will demonstrate. Works Cited Lehoucq, Fabrice Edouard, and Iván Molina. 2002. Stuffing the Ballot Box: Fraud, Electoral Reform, and Democratization in Costa Rica. Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Mahoney, James. 2001. “Radical, Reformist and Aborted Liberalism: Origins of National Regimes in Central America.” Journal of Latin American Studies 33 (2): 221–56. Pereira, Luiz Carlos Bresser, and Peter Spink, eds. 1999. Reforming the State: Managerial Public Administration in Latin America. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Stone, Samuel Z. 1982. La dinastía de los conquistadores: la crisis del poder en la Costa Rica contemporánea. San José (Costa Rica): Editorial Universitaria Centroamericana (EDUCA). Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. University of California Press.

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