Dr. Michelle Bonner

Dr. Michelle Bonner
Professor and Undergraduate Advisor
Political Science

PhD (2004) (Toronto)

Office: DTB A338

Fall 2020 term office hours - please e-mail directly to schedule a Zoom appointment.

Dr. Michelle Bonner is Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria. She specializes in Comparative politics and the Global South (Latin America). Her primary research interests concern issues of human rights and democratization. Most of her work has focused on exploring the tension between police violence and democracy through studies of punitive populism and protest policing. She has also examined public discourse on police violence through studies of the mass media and social movements. Her work takes a critical and fresh look at transitional justice and democratic accountability. She welcomes the opportunity to work with graduate students interested in any of these areas of study and is an associated faculty member with the MA Politics of Global Challenges stream.

She is the author of four books. Tough on Crime: The Rise of Punitive Populism in Latin America (Pittsburgh University Press, 2019), Police Abuse in Contemporary Democracies (co-edited, Palgrave 2018), Policing Protest in Argentina and Chile (Lynne Rienner, 2014), and Sustaining Human Rights: Women and Argentine Human Rights Organizations (Penn State, 2007). Her book Policing Protest won the Canadian Political Science Association’s 2015-2016 prize for best book in Comparative Politics. It has also been translated and published in Spanish (Ril Editores, 2018).

Her most recent book, Tough on Crime, examines how media deregulation and privatization has contributed to political leaders’ increased use of tough on crime rhetoric and policies to win elections and popular support, with important consequences for human rights and democracy.

She has written many articles published in academic journals including Journal of Latin American StudiesLatin American Research ReviewLatin American Politics and Society, Bulletin of Latin American Research, International Journal of Press/PoliticsInternational Journal of Transitional JusticePolicing and Society, and the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

From 2006-10 she was on the board of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She is also a member of the Latin American Research Group at the University of Victoria and organizes their speakers’ series in coordination with the Centre for Global Studies.

  • Latin American politics
  • Human rights
  • Democratization
  • Policing
  • Media
  • Social movements and Protests
  • Transitional Justice
  • Argentine Politics
  • Chilean Politics
  • Comparative politics

Dr. Bonner teaches courses on Latin American politics and human rights.

Teaching 2020-21

Fall 2020:

  • POLI 525: Politics of Global Challenges

Spring 2021:

Courses taught:
  • POLI 210: Comparative Politics
  • POLI 372: Latin American Politics
  • POLI 381: Mass Media in Latin America
  • POLI 436/533: Politics of Human Rights in New Democracies
  • POLI 508/608: Comparative Politics Graduate Seminar
  • POLI 600: PhD Seminar

Journal Articles and Chapters

  • 2019. "What Democratic Policing Is... And Is Not" Policing and Society.
  • 2019. "Protest and Police 'Excesses' in Chile: The Limits of Social Accountability" In Pablo Policzer (ed.) The Politics of Violence in Latin America. Calgary, AB: University of Calgary Press.
  • 2018. "Media and Punitive Populism in Argentina and Chile" Bulletin of Latin American Research. 37:3, 275-290.
  • 2018. "Holding Police Abuse to Account: The Challenge of Institutional Legitimacy, a Chilean Case Study" In Michelle D. Bonner, Guillermina Seri, Mary Rose Kubal, and Michael Kempa (eds.) Police Abuse in Contemporary Democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2018. "Rethinking Police Abuse in Democracy" In Michelle D. Bonner, Guillermina Seri, Mary Rose Kubal, and Michael Kempa (eds.) Police Abuse in Contemporary Democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2018. "Police Abuse in Contemporary Democracies" In Michelle D. Bonner, Guillermina Seri, Mary Rose Kubal, and Michael Kempa (eds.) Police Abuse in Contemporary Democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (with Michael Kempa, Mary Rose Kubal, and Guillermina Seri).
  • 2017. "Policing Economic Growth: Mining, Protest, and State Discourses in Argentina and PeruLatin American Research Review 52:1, 3-17. (with Ariel Taylor)
  • 2016. "The Politics of Development" In Christopher G. Anderson and Rand Dyck (eds.). Studying Politics: An Introduction to Political Science (5th edition). Toronto, ON: Nelson.
  • 2016. "Rethinking Debates on Media and Police Reform in Argentina” Policing and Society 26:8, 925-943.
  • 2014. "Never Again: Transitional Justice and Persistent Police Violence in Argentina" International Journal of Transitional Justice, 8:2, 235-255.
  • 2014. "Violence, Policing and Citizen (In)Security" Latin American Research Review, 49:1, 261-269. (review essay).
  • 2013. "The Politics of Police Image in Chile" Journal of Latin American Studies, 45:4, 669-694.
  • 2011. "The Three R’s of Transitional Justice: Reparation, Responsibility, and Reframing in Canada and Argentina” International Indigenous Policy Journal, Vol.2: Iss3, Article 3. (with Matt James)
  • 2010. "Memory, Human Rights and Democratization?" Journal of Third World Studies, 27:1, 323-326. (review essay)
  • 2009. "Media as Social Accountability: The case of police violence in Argentina". International Journal of Press/Politics, 14:3, 296-312.
  • 2009. "State Discourses, Police Violence and Democratisation in Argentina." Bulletin of Latin American Research. 28:2, 227-245.
  • 2009. "Defining Rights in Democratization: The Argentine Government and Human Rights Organizations, 1983-2003." In William C. Smith (ed.) New Perspectives on Democracy in Latin America: Actors, Institutions and Practices, Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell.
  • 2008. "Applying the Concept of 'Human Security' in Latin America: an Argentine Case Study." Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 33:65, 7-31. 2008.
  • 2008. "Law and Injustice in Latin America" Latin American Politics and Society, 50:1 (Spring), 169-183. (review essay)/
  • 2005. "Defining Rights in Democratization: The Argentine Government and Human Rights Organizations, 1983-2003." Latin American Politics and Society, 47:4 (Winter), 55-76.


  • 2017. Review of While the City Sleeps: A History of Pistoleros, Policemen, and the Crime Beat in Buenos Aires before Perón, by Lila Caimari. Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books
  • 2014. Review of The Politics of Memory in Chile: From Pinochet to Bachelet, by Cath Collins, Katherine Hite, and Alfredo Joignant (ed.). Perspectives on Politics. 12:4, 939-940.
  • 2012. Review of Feminist Agendas and Democracy in Latin America, by Jane S. Jaquette (ed.). Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe. 23:2, 155-157.
  • 2011. Review of Policing Insecurity: Police Reform, Security, and Human Rights in Latin America, by Neils Uildriks (ed.) and Policing Developing Democracies by Mercedes S. Hinton and Tim Newburn (eds.). Latin American Politics and Society 53:4, 201-204.
  • Review of Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa, by Linda Diebel. Montreal Gazette. October 1, 2005, (Books) p.4.
  • Review of Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina, by Rita Arditti. Resources for Feminist Research 31:1/2 (2005), 33-34.
  • Review of Warnings from the Far South: Democracy Versus Dictatorship in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, by William Davis. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 17:4 (Special Issue 1996), 175-178.