The Quest for Modernity: Latin American Technocratic Ideas in Historical Perspective

  • Michiel Baud
Part of the Latin American Studies Series book series (LASS)


Research on technocrats in Latin America tends to focus on contemporary examples. Yet the technocratic phenomenon has roots that go back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this period, many advocated some sort of technocratic rule, and many Latin American governments included personnel which were specifically selected for their technical expertise. Large infrastructural projects in most Latin American countries resulted in a constant need for technicians, particularly engineers. They were not needed for their political capacities or social understanding, but constituted the necessary instruments to reach the sacred goal of modernization. The unrelenting desire to modernize their societies led Latin American elite groups into the arms of technical men. The technocratic phenomenon in this period is characterized by an ideology in which rationality and technological expertise were seen as the prime instruments for the solution of societal problems.


Historical Perspective Latin American Country Dominican Republic Public Employee Technological Expertise 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • Michiel Baud

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