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Legal Ethnography in an Era of Globalization: The Arrival of Western Human Rights Discourse to Rural Bolivia

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Abstract

In this chapter I explore the effects of globalization on legal ethnographic fieldwork through an examination of the impact of the arrival of Western human rights discourse to rural Bolivia during the last ten years. Beginning in the late-1980s and continuing through the 1990s, several events in Bolivia coincided that would form the foundation for this development. First, there was a national debate in Bolivia during the mid-to late 1980s over the upcoming 500 years observations in 1992. This debate was accompanied by the formation of new indigenous rights groups and the strengthening of existing organizations with progressive or radical tendencies, particularly the influential labor unions. The impact of the new movement—framed now in terms of indigenous rights and largely united, something that is unusual for Bolivian social movements—was most dramatically represented by the turbulent 1990 march by indigenous rights groups from Trinidad to La Paz, an event that captivated the nation and forced a national dialogue about the marchers’ demands, which were broad in scope but centered around claims that traditional authority structures should be given legal effect at the national level, and that rural lands should be protected from the encroachment by large landowners and corporations, especially in the Bolivian Amazon.
Cnarrrn 3
Lnc¿.r ErrrNocRApHy rN AN En¡ or
Gr,onarrzATroN: Trrn Annrv¡.l or
WrsrrnN Huuax RrcHrs DrscouRSE To
Runer Borrvra
Mark Goodale
Inuoduction
In this chapter I explore the effects ofglobalization on legal ethnographic fieldwork
,hto"gh an oramination of the impact of the a¡rival of 'W'estern human rights
discourse to rural Bolivia during the last ten yea¡s. Beginning in the late-1980s and
continuing through the 1990s, several events in Bolivia coincided that would form
the foundation for this dwelopment. First, there was a national debate in Bolivia
during the mid- to late 1980s over the upcoming 500 years observations in 1992.
This debate was accompanied by the formation of new indigenous rights groups and
the strengthening of existing organizations with progressive or radical tendencies,
particularly the influential labor unions. The impact of the new meysms¡¡-framEd
now in terms of indigenous rights and largely united, something that is unusud for
Bolivian social movements-was most dramatically represenced by the tu¡bulent
1990 ma¡ch by indigenous rights groups from Tfinidad to]taPaz, an event that
cáptivated the nation and forced a national dialogue about the ma¡chers' demands,
wbich were broad in scope but centered a¡or¡nd daims that uaditional authority
stfuctures should be given legal effect at the national level, and that ruial lands
stiþuld be protected from the encroachment by large landowners and corporations,
esþecially in the Bolivian Amazon.
.^_Probably the most striking and lasting effect of the resuldng debate over the
rrqrch and related events
d¡l growing middle class
d$atet cenual premises:
ddûned as "indigenous" Bolivians, and that these groups had special rights as a result
ofshis st were felt
bfrrnanf ambigu-
o\ûþ or interna-
ti¡inal charters or proclamations of relevant United Narions working bodies, like rhe
hiternational Labor Organization. The best example of this direct link is Convention
169, a broad statement of princþles created by the International I-abor Organization
LEGAL ETHNocRAprry rN AN ERA oF GLoBALTZATTow / 5r
in 1989. In 1991, Bolivia bec¿me one of the ea¡liest of only fourteen countries to
ratify the convention.2 Moreover, the package of progressive reforms developed by
the Sánchez de I-ozzda government during th9 early and mid-l99Os-especially
Popular Participation and the I-aw of Educ¿tional Reform-was a specific aftempt
to put the ideas of international cha¡ters like Convention 169 into practice.3
Second, the late 1980s and 1990s saw a massive inflr¡x of nongovernmental
organizations (NGOS) to ru¡al Bolivia. ,{though nongovernmental organizations
like the Rockefeller Foundation h¿d turned their attention towa¡d l¿tin America as
early as the Green Revolution of t}re 1960s (see Cueto 1994), NGOs intent on help-
ing local populations "develop" did not tu¡n their full attention toward tu¡al Bolivia
undl the late 1980s. Many of the most active NGOs in the region, especially in the
mid- to late 1990s, consciolrly reformulated theapproach of ea¡lier organizations in
úrat úrey pu¡ported to adopt "indigenous knowledge" regimes into their local plan-
ning strategies.a Thir was indeed a striking depamrre from ea¡lier waves of NGO
activity, which were tfpi""lly seen by local people in rural Bolivia as pauonizing
heavy-handed, and, at times, misdirected. Beginning in the mid-1990s, NGOs
became mo¡e self-consciously collaborative by hiring local leaders to particþate in
decision-making over resource allocation.S Further, development activities were
often preceded by initial meetings between NGO workers and loc¿l leaders thatwere
intended to place tüe intentions of the organization within a specific human rights
contelft as defined in international cha¡ters.6
Bacþround of Resea¡ch A¡e a
Sac¿ca is in many ì¡¡ays a t)'pic"l town in the north of Boliviat Potosí Department.
Creatèd in the 1570s, during Viceroy Toledo's infamous 'reductions"-in which
thousands of Indians were forced, or "reduced," into the Spanish-sryle towns that a¡e
found úrroughout the Andes-it is the capital of the province Alonso de lbañez. The
1992 Bolivian census lists the population of the town of Sacaca itself at about 2,000
people; the remainder of the province's 21,000 people live in the almost 200 hamlets
spread over the province (Instituto Nacional de EstadJsticas 1992). Sacac¿ is one of
úre only towns in the province that has regular motorized transportation to a major
ciry-Oruro-and it featu¡es electricity (since the early 1980s), potable water, a¡td,
as of the early 1990s, television. Because Sacac¿, like the rest of the region, is at such
a high altitude (about 3620 meters), crop produêtion is limited to the high dtitude
cultiva¡s like potatoes and quinoa, with crops like corn being grown in a few of the
provincet lower intermontane vdleys. Apart from agriculture, townspeople, like
everyone in the province, have an assortment of animals that they pasture, including
llamas, catde, sheep, goaß, buüos, and piç.
But outside of Sacaca, where the ayllusT a¡e predominant and people live in
ha¡nlets8 ofvarying sizes,9 the picnue is different. The harnlets lie atvaryingdisønces
Êom Sacac¿, and the distances a¡e measu¡ed in "leagues," a league being understood
in the region as the disance that a healthy adult c¿n walk in one hou¡ (it worls out
to.about five kilometers). The closest hamlets are at about one league Êom Sacaca a¡rd
the fanhest a¡e at about tfteen leagues or more. Throughout the province the soil is
generally poor because of both the high altitude and overgrazing by Old '\Øorld
52 / M'AIJ(.GooDALE
a¡rimals (who tend to pull plana up by rheir roots; as opposed to llamas, who eat the
stems and leave the plant intact); periods ofmicro division of land also impolerish the
soil because of the pressure to plant in fields that have not lain fallow long enough.
The furival of'!?'estern Human Rights Discourse to Alonso de Ibañez
The a¡rival of NGOs to Alonso de Ibañez created a new and important dynamic the
coupling of ideas that orplicidy validated indigenous knowledge and lifeways with a
power structurè that was clearly alternative and superior to the government in terms
of technological sophistication and ac¡:ess to resources. Fu¡ther, the a¡rival of NGOs
gave people in the hamlets a way to bypass traditional networks of power and politi-
cal influence. The clearest example of this is the way in which union leaders began
advising ayllu auúrorities to end imporant uaditional prectices. But the NGOs have
also contributed to something of a shift in worldview among hamlea that have inter-
acted s'ith them. Local people, especially loc¿l intellecnrals who have worked with
NGOs, have come to view themselves within a much different conte)ft, one that
contrasts sharply Êom what came before: a model of the world reflected by a social
hierarchy that was seen to be permanent and which ocisted to their dear disadvantage.
The final event that formed the foundation for the a¡rival of 'll'estern human
rights discourse in Alonso de Ibañez, and its transformative effect on local construc-
tións of legaliry, u¡as the social revolution created by the series of progressive legisla-
tion that I referred to above. The package of legislation, which involved amendmens
to the national consrirution, was created in a political atmosphere in which the rights
of Bolivia's indigenous peoples-again, as oudined in specific international cha¡-
ters-were given a prominent place. Although several componenr of this legislation
have come under sustained critique in Bolivia for the way they e:(press contradictory
*or"g.s,Io most of the cenúal themes--decentralization, local power over decision-
Edricational Reform in particular have been lightening rods for a kind of social
acti{ism not seen before in the regio
expþsed in terms of human righa,
proþessive legislation of the mid-19
aggr,.egations of hamlea in the province a new and forceful wey to maneuver strate-
gi{[y vis-à-vis the dominant interests in the provincial capitd. 'What makes the
Pog'!¡lar Participation movement so influential in the province-and effective in dre
eyer'of many local intellecnrals-is the fact that it does not funcdon merely as a prec-
tical soluúon to its emphasis
on indigenous li an ordering
prifrciple, give it national and
LEGAL ETHNOGRAPTTY rN AN ERA OF GLOBALTZATTON / 53
the local in a way rarely seen in Bolivia The result of this reformulation of the
symbolic, combined with the appearance of NGOs discussed above, has been the rise
of a boldness in action and sophistication in understanding by hamlet intellectuals
úrat has aken many officials in Sacaca by surprise.
This chapter will explore the implications for legal ethnographic work of these
dynamics Êom t'*ro angles. First, in the next section I will examine the wap in which
'Western human rights discourse has transformed locd constructions of l.æli.y
through one c:$e snrd),: a description and analysis of the Servicio Legal Integral (SLI)
that was active in the province between 1995 and 1998. The SLI was created in order
to provide a legal mechanism in the province for the protection of the righa of
women and child¡en, righß which were understood as subsets of the broader
doctrine of human rights. And second, I will then focus on the work of the SLI's
directo! Lucio Montesinos, because he has served as an imporønt link between
transnational legaliry and loc¿l legal affairs in Alonso de Iba¡iez.
The final section of this chapter will discuss the methodological problems related to
the resea¡ch on the penetration of Vestern human rights discourse in ru¡al Bolivia-
I will show how the legal ethnographer can respond to the challenges created by glob-
alizatioÀ by adopdng, among other techniques, both a multisited approach to research,
and a focus on individual legal-intellecual biography. The cenûal problem for the legal
ethnographer in these circumstances is how to uack the global-national-regional-local
aniculations associated with globalization by re-envisioning the resea¡ch site as
multileveled and multidimensional.
A. Cøse Sndy
Sacøcøls Seruicio Legal Integrdl, 1995-1998 The Servicio Legal Integral ("kg.l
Services Center"; hereinafter "SLI" or "Centel') that existed in Sac¿ca between 1995
and 1998 was officially known as ¡he Centro de Servicio Legd Integral de Sacacâ.
The SLI was authorized by the Ministerio de Desa¡rollo Humano, Subsecreta¡ía de
Asuntos de Género (SAG).I2 The Cla¡êtian Church in Sacaca made the formal appli-
cation to I-a Paz and when the approval was given, they were designated as the
managing ageîcy. They also prõvided initial funding for the Center, dong with
UNICEF and Sacac¿'s mayor. The Cla¡edans continued as official managers of the
Center until April 1998, when they withdrew their support for the Center; the
management then passed to tÏe mayor until August 1998, when the SLI was closed.
'While it w:rs open it had a st¿ff of two: Lucio Montesinos, the townt only tided
lawyer, who served as director; and an assistant who moved to Sacaca Êom La Paz-
She was a young universiry graduate in forestry who had an interest in human rights
and specifically the righa of women and child¡en. She had many duties at the
Center-which was loceted in a two-story house off Sacaca's plaza-including
processing new arivals, giving advice to and counseling to rvomen who decided to
stay et the CenteB and in generd, serving as e house motier to the group that was
living at the Center at any one time. She was also responsible for maintaining records
related to the Centert activities.
Montesinos worked with the assistant during interviews of new a¡rivals. He was
responsible for all legal fi¡nctions of t}re Center, induding giving legal advice to
54 / Iuenx cooDALB
women who came to the Center for help, making decisions regarding úre validiry of
qrses at intake interviews, planning legal strategies for cases that were deemed worthy
were discoru€ed from doing so by th
of its existence, very few women from
resources; the overwhelming majority
Besides serving as a legal resource center for women and child¡en in the province,
the SLI was also a refr:ge for women who were fleeing abusive home environments.
The impact of the Center on women in the province is difficult to overestimate
or firlly appreciate. Although physicd and psychological violence by men against
women and children the province, the reaction to
tÏe Center proves th as some essential feature of
local culturã or, even al "Andean cultu¡e." R¿ther,
conditions that create it,
situation, women in the
disruption in family life
their reactions car¡se.
r¡nion activities.
LEGAL ETHNOGRAPITY IN AN BRA OF GLOBALIZATION / 55
stayed for more than six months while their c:tses were processed in the local coun.
But many rñr'omen stayed at the Center even without actively pursuing their cases;
while the legal aspects of their situations were often misunderstood, the fact that they
could live in Sacaca away from abusive husbands or boyfriends meant that the
Centert role became more complex than first envisioned.
Fortunateþ the Center maintained accurate records of its activities, and the
information contained in the SLI a¡chive lends substance to claims about the
dramatic impact on provincial legal consciousness of the Centert support for human
rights. Although the Center served broad functions, its main purpose was to provide
legal protection to women a¡d children, and to this end Montesinos began present-
ing cåses processed through the Center in front of the local judge very soon after the
Center opened in 1995. Records from rhe jazgddo d¿ instrucción show that in 7995
the court opened forty-five new criminal cases, which represented almost a 50 percent
increase over the everage total number of crimind cases in the prwious teo years.l4
Almost all of the nineteen additional cases above the prwious ten-yed average
of twenty-six lvere cases filed by Montesinos on behalf of women who had come to
the SLI.
The following tablçs give detailed information on the SLIt acdvities for the years
1995 rhrough1997.
Täble 3.1 New A¡rivals to SLI, 1995
No. ofnew
a¡rivals lst Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quaner 4th Quaner Toral
Totel
'W'omen
Men
Child¡en
Tahle 3.2 Types of Cases Processed by Sn I, 1995
Type of case
(,ùø, M, C)* lst Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter Toel
78
59
17
)
498
400
86
12
192
169
21
7
r51
r04
44
3
77
68
4
5
860
594
250
25
r11
79
27
5
r59
133
21
5
Physical aggression
Psychological
eggressron
Sexual aggression
No. ofnew
rrivals
TotaI
'Women
Men
Children
30\7
42W,3M,2C 34\r
33\r,5M,4C 52W
60\ø
6\ø
42W
8l\v
10\r
158
230
25
* V = womo, M = mo, C = child¡a; when no Êgw is gim for a etcgory rhat dat none wg givo for ir.
Table 3.3 NewA¡rivals to SLI, 1996
4V 5!ø
lst Quaner 2nd Quutet 3rd Quarter Quaner ToÉl
20t
147
48
6
389
235
r54
9
56 / MARK GooDALE
Table 3.4 Types of Cases Processed by SLI, 1996
Type ofese
(\ø, M, C) lst Quartet 2nd Quaner 3rd Quaner 4th Quaner Total
Physicd aggression
Psychological aggression
Sexud aggression
69W lM
3r4\ø
6\ø
63V
147\Y
l3lùí
38\ø
r09\r
7V
200
602
35
29v
32\Y
9\r
Tâble 3.5 New A¡¡ivals to SLI, 1997*
No. of new a¡rivals lst Quaner 2nd Quaner Total
Total
'1ù?'omen
Men
Child¡en
Ph¡aical aggression
Pq¡cholo gical aggression
Sexual aggression
3l\r,8M
r3\ø
5!Jø
* Sa¡istia not ompiled by rhc SLI for the Lst two quarte rc of 1997
fo¡ uil<nwn øom. Tte statistic givo he¡c se for the 1997
through Juc.
Tâble 3.6 Types ofCases Processedby SLI' 1997
Type of case
(\ü, M, C) lsr Quancr 2nd Quarter Total
208
106
80
22
89
48
3r
10
l19
58
49
12
67
33
12
28\7
20\r
7\xl
, th.r. tables show the rema¡kable impact of the sLI and the new ideas of legal
iddhtiry it fostered within the provincet legal univeme. In its first year 400 women
-å,.j at rhe Center. Out of this group, the types of violence complained of were
roriþHy divided equelly between phyld and-psy.chological aggression, with twenry-
nd. * of sexiaggiession being distinguished from the general cúe'¡.r,ry of ghys-
ifi"ggr.ssiorr. By iãsecond y..r-út. SLÍt impact was even more strfüngr¡lmost
Zffi rff*." arrivád at the Center in l996.And as we "'ur see' the number of cases of
pfrihotogical aggression were rhree times the number of cases of physical aggression'
i"-igge ir. ,r,rñb.. of cases of sexual aggression rose to úrirty-five from nventy-five'
t,it U, the first rwo quarters of 1997, the nutnbers fell steeply: Thgr¡ ar.e only 106
*å*"r, as new ,¡ri.rrls, compared rvirh 382 in 1996; and, most sufüngl¡ tïere a¡e
ordy twenty cases of psychotãgicâl aggression reported by women in the first que¡ter
"i-iggZ, "t*prr.d *iU ¡fii" thã fi.rr q."tt". of L996.r5 The cases of reported-
;o,"J "ggt*rår, ho**.r, remain ,no.. o, lo, constant between the first quarters of
1297 aÃ.1996 despite the large dròp in overall numbers between the wo years.
',"Arro.h., inuiguing featu¡e ãf *tir data is the number of men who a¡rived at the
Qnter between iggi*¿ 1997 .In its first year of ercistence, eighty-six men a¡rived at
,li C.rr..r, compared ì¡vith 400 women. In 1996 the number of men arriving to the
Qnter ,,Þbd ; 250, whle the number of women also grew, but much more
^oao,ç io 59 4 in 1 996 from 400 in 1995. But by the first two quarters of 1997' the
nUmbers of men a¡rd women arriving at the Center had become relatively equal
LEGAL ETHNOGRAPTTY rN AN BR¡, Or GLOBALTZATTON / 57
compared with the previous two years. Yet despite the large numbers of men dtiuing
at the Center, the number of cases processed with the three categories of aggression
used by the Center was negligible. In 1995 tlere were eight cases processed involv-
ing men as victims of psychological aggression, in 1996 there was one case processed
involving a male victim of physical aggression, arrd by 1997 rhere were eight cases
processed involving men as victims of physical aggression.
Finall¡ the small number of cases involving child¡en as victims of any of the three
types ofaggression should be noted. This is due to the focus ofoutreach effora by
SLI personnel. Although t}re protection of children is made an explicit part of the
va¡ious pieces of legislation which led to the creation of the SLIs, the rights of chil-
dren a¡e subordinated to the rights of their mothers, as vr'omen. During outreach
efforts in 1995, SLI personnel emphasized that.the Center existed to protect the
rights of women; childrenì rights were not distinguished from the rights of women,
but were mereþ included as a subset of them. The idea was t}rat if worrien c:rme to
the Center because of abusive domestic environments they would necessarily bring
theii smaller children, who could t}ren receive legal protection and medical treatment
if necessa¡y. But it was felt that since the conte)ft in which the Center was created
was so new and unsetding for many people in the province, that it was better to keep
the Centert stated foci simple and direct without dividing familiCI unnecessarily.lô
But let us return to the first two observations about the SLI data: the d¡amatic
rise and then fall in numbers of new a¡rivals, a¡d the numbers of men arriving to the
Center. The SLI had great success in spreading word of its e¡ristence and purposes
during its first year of operation.lT Yet despite the numbers qf lvems¡-ard men-
coming to the Centeç there were problems Êom the outset that contributed to the
sharp decline-a¡d tìus influence---of the Center by 1997. First, although
the Center continued processing cases in 1995 well after the Center iaelf had
become fr¡ll and not ¿ble to lodge more people, many of the women who could not
use the Service as a refilge as well as a legal resource became discouraged, The Center
was promoted as a place where women could find legal protection against physical
and psychological abuse, but the sheer volume of new cases in 1995 simply over-
whelmed the Center's steffof two.
The result was that in the followiîgyeer fer¡¡er women decided to make the diffi-
cult decision to go to Sac¿ca and make their griwances public. The Center's inability
to manage rhe number of new cases is demonstrated also duough the records of the
locel cou¡t. Although tlere was a relatively d¡amatic spike in the number of new cases
opened in the court in1995 becatue of the Centerì activities, the absolute nurnber-
45-shows that only a very small percentage of the cases that merited legal interven-
tion were actually prosecuted. And by 1996 and 1997, the number of new criminal
cases in the cor¡¡t had retu¡ned to the prior ten-year average of twenty-six, indicating
that the Center's impact in terms of criminal prosecutions was not significant.
The inabiliry to meet the demands of new a¡rivals by prosecuting ca¡es in the
court is not only related to the lack of resources at the Center; t.he court itself served
as an obstacle. The court had a staffof three and would not have been able to ha¡dle
the numbers of cases that were coming through the Center during 1995 and 1996.
But this was not the primary problem with the cou¡t; on most dap the couft did not
have any activities scheduled a¡rd it could, ifit desired, have increased its workload
S8 / tu¡nx cooDALE
by at least 50 percent so that it would have been able to oPen approximateþ 300 new
câses a montÌt.I8 Private correspondence from the SLI a¡chive indicates that the
judge doubted the validiry of both the .mission of the Center and the merit of most
of the individual cases biought to him by Montesinos. In some documents-mostly
internal SLI memoranda-Montesinos complains binerly about the resistance by the
court to the Centert activities, and the fact that what he saw as overt hostiliry on the
part of úre judge meant that the Center was effectively prevented from functioning
as it was daþed. Montesinos also made formal complaints to the mayor during
1996 and 1997; althgugh the.mayor was particularly sympathetic to Montesinost
complaints, nothing was formally done and the Center was thus blocked from carry-
ing out its mission.
The other striking featu¡e of the information on the SLI shown through these
tables a¡e the numbers of men who a¡rived at the Center, relative to women, begin-
ning in I996.In 1995 the percentage of men arriving to the Center as a funcdon of
the total was 17 percenti in 1996 the figure was almost 30 percent; and, by the end
of the second quarrer of 1997, the figure had risen ro almost 40 percent. In addition,
the absolute number of men arriving rose sþificantly from 1995 to 1996-from 86
to 250, nearly a 200 percent increase-and by the end of the second qua-rter of 1997
the numbers'were falling from the 1996 figoto, although still well above the Centert
first year. Already by the second quarter more men had a¡rived at the Center than in
all of 1995. And even .ho"gh the absolute numbers of men arriving at the Center
were falling by mid-1997, t}re percentage of men to women continued to rise.
Yet of the 416 men for whom the Center recorded arrivals, only 17 managed to
have formal cases opened on their behalf, which represents a mere 4 percent of the
total. There afe two explanations for this phenomenon. First, in their outreach
efforrs, the SLI was clea¡ that the Center existed to provide a safe refuge and legal
thew"y the power of Sacacis legal
authorities and competing local int
institution like the Sl-l-backed, as
LEGAL ETHNOGRAPHY IN AN ERA OF GLOBALIZATION / 59
Sacaca, influential NGOs working in the region, and the national (not provincial)
government-was ceftain to produce a degree of both excitement and disruption
among men in the hamlets, and dre large numbers of men who did a¡rive at the
Center despite its stated intentions are proof of this.
But even though large numbers of men crme to Sacac¿ a¡rd were officially
recorded as new a¡rivals, new ceses were not opened on their behalf; this is the
second explanation for the discrepancy in the SLI statistics.'!Øhen men a¡rived at the
Center they soon learned, if they had not already known or were unclea¡, that it was
not a general purpose legal institution like the local court. Moreover, in addition to
not being a legal institution that could serve their interests, men who came to the
Center discovered very quickly that their extended presence v/es not welcome.
Because there were almost 100 women at tÏe Center ^t eny s¡¡s ¡irns-me5¡ 6f
whom were victims of domestic violence-dre Centert staffwas intent on prevent-
ing men from trying to seek revenge on spor¡ses or partners who had left-their
hamles and publicþ denounced them. Despite the fact tÏat new cases were not
opened for the overwhelming majority of men who a¡rived at t}re Center, we are
forn¡nate that the Center recorded their a¡rivals because such records are also-apart
from the light they shed on the Center's activities-more strong evidence of the
impact of transnation"l l.g.l movements on legal consciousness in the province.
As I have mentioned above, the SLI was closed in August 1998. The house that
the Cehter rented was retu¡ned to its owner, the offices were closed to women, and
the records of the Center were a¡chived. The simple o<planation for why the Center
closed is that after the Chu¡ch in Sacac¿ relinquished its control over the SLI in Sacaca
in April of 1998, it also ended its financial support. \7hen the management of-and
financial responsibility for-the Center passed to the mayor in 1998, much h.ad
changed, and it was only matter of time before the Center would run out of both
money and governmental support. The Cerìter was opened 1995 during the
Sánchez del-ozade administration, when the impetus for social reform was greatest;
this was also the dme when most of t}re progressive social legislation that authorized
the SLI, and other reform institutions like Popular Parcicipation, was passed. But in
1998 the politicd climate throughout Bolivia changed when a rehabilitated Hugo
Bá¡zrr Suarez swept into power;20 as part of this change, the movement for social
reform within the national government cÍrme to a virtual standstill, although bu¡eau-
cratic entrenchment meant that agencies like Sr{G continued their existing work.
Newprojects, howevel were frozen. This meant th¿t the SLI in Sacac¿ could not hope
to obtain financial support from the departmental or national representatives of SAG.
At the loc¿l level, the new mayor in Sacaca-who entered office in 1998-was
not nearly as sympathetic to the Centert mission as the previous ^ayor,2l someone
who was interested in social jusdce issues and who had supported the Center if not
financiall¡ then at least morally. And although the new mayor had doubts as to the
validity of the Center's mission, his objections to it were mole Practical a¡d less ideo-
logical. than the objections of Sacaca's judge. During the same time the mayorwas
asked to take over the management of the Center, Popular Participation firnds were
just starting to flow into the town's coffers. The mayor had to make decisions about
what to do with the mone¡ and the way that Popular Participation monies were
spent during 1998-all on infrastructure projects in Sacaca itself-indic¿tes that he
6o / uar,x cooDALE
was very hesitant about distributing the funds in such a way that neither he as an
elected ofiìcial, noi the town, would clearly benefit.
of nongovernmental fina¡rcial suPPort for a new Servicio Legal Integral for Sac¿ca; he
*.r, .ril,irion.d a series of SLIs ttooughout Potosí Department--Sacacat had been the
only one-with himself as regional director a¡rd adviser.
vision into his work at all levels, slowly at first, as he anended semina¡s in La Paz on
LEGAL ETHNOGRâ3ITY IN AN ERÀ OF GLOBALIZATION / 61
human rights law, but as his work at the SLI and uaining progressed, he adopted
a more zealous approach. By the time I had a¡rived in Sac¿ca in 1998, Montesinos
had refined his understanding of the meaning of human rights docuine and was
actively trying to single-handedly uansform the legal consciousness of weryone in the
province. His views were now quite clear: Human rights law-as expressed in national
versions of international doctrines-defined a clea¡ set of legd and moral imperatives
that should govern the way people treated each ot}rer; that it was his job to make these
imperatives known to people, both in Sacaca and in the hamlets; and that he was
responsible for ensuring that once these imperatives weie knov\rn and understood by
people, they would be respected a¡rd followed on pain of legal sanction.
Bec¿use of his wide-ranging presence as a legal intellectual in the province,
Montesinos had many oppomrnities to realize his complex jurisprudential visions in
practice. Through many conversations with him, it was clea¡ that he also saw himself
as a moral philosopher much on the classic¿l model. He felt that he possessed what
amounted to a secret and superior knowledge and that it was his function to spread
its benefits to those who were ignorant of it. The doctrine of human rights had
become for Montesinos like a new religion to be preached to people who were in
da¡kness. But human rights doctrine was not like a religion for Montesinos in a very
important sense: It appealed to reason, not passion; logic, not faith. Human righa
law was for him a superior secula¡ answer to what he understood to be a religious-
moral crisis in the province, one that was reflected in the omnipresence of domestic
violence, an aberration that showed that the Chu¡ch in Sacaca had not served its
function, even though it had stood watch over the region for four centuries.
Montesinos is frequently asked to officiate at civil weddings in Sacaca a¡rd in some
of the doser hamlerc. As the only tided lawyer and one of only two civil registrars in
the piovince, he receives approximateþ tett t.q,tesès per month to perform weddirrg
dutia; although rhe sponsor of the wedding-the pidino:rs obligated to offer
Montesinos a small amount of money for his services, he does not accePt any comPen-
sation for his work Montesinos has officiated et almost all the weddinç in Sacaca
from the mid-1990s to the present, and during my time there he was increasingly
as wimesses and that the signing be supervised by an authorized official such as a
tided lawyer, civil registrar, or judge. But despite the lack of official requirements
involved with conduãting " .i.ní *ãdding in Bãfivia, and the guestd preferencè that
6z / :n¡rxxcooDALn
the formalities be kept to the absolute minimum so that the ch'allas, or ritual toasts,
and dancing can begin, Montesinos has developed a ivedding procedure that rivals
a chu¡ch mass in its seriousness of purpose and length.
As soon as he a¡rives at the wedding site-which is in most cases the lamtly sø[a
dc recepción, a room with a dirt floor and low benches along all four walls-he
proceeds immediately to the wedding table and spreads out his instruments: the
wedding certificate, a copy of the Bolivia¡ f*ily code, a copy of the Bolivia¡ civil
code, and a copy of Law 1674,v¡hichhe will draw on for much of the human rights
language that will figure prominendy in the ceremony. Montesinos is always eeger to
begin the ceremony as soon as possible because he knows that for many people it will
last longer than expected:rnd will feature the introduction of ideas and concepts that
they will not have anticipated. As soon as the couple is standing in front of his
table-flanked by their godparens-Montesinos begins reading from the Bolivian
law codes' sêctions on marriage, which merely oudine the procedural requirements
for a legitimate service. But that is soon finished and then he begins the ner<t stage
by intoning solemnly "existen en este mundo derechos humanos" ("there orist in this
world human rights"). He t}ren describes these human rights as "r¡¡iversal laws" that
define responsibilities that the newly married couple has to themselves, their future
children, and to society.
After spending about thirry minutes providing this introducdon to human rights
doctrine, Montesinos then moves on to a subset of these rights, and his particular inter-
est, the rollos dz genero. He lecn¡¡es the couple that the rules governing relationships
among men and women in the province have changed significantly since the time of
rhe aitepdsados, or encestors, and that now the man's duties towa¡d his wife induded
helping her cook for the famil¡ helping with childcare-including ca¡rnng drild¡en
on the trail, a bu¡den women complain about frequendy-and dwoting equal time to
deaning a¡or¡nd the house. But most of all, a man cân no longer use violence aginst
his ûrjfc or child¡en for any reason. Montesinos orplains that both international human
tffi l"w and Bolivian law now protect women from abuse; he even goes into detail
abofij specific aca prohibited under Bolivian law and the amot¡nts of prison dme asso-
ciatédwith each. Montesinos also devotes some time to discussing the fact thatwomen
*.So
woqFn
þe
siorr of
ousþ;ss of rhe occasion and the reputation of Montesinos, the weddingPaftV usuallT
doei,nor do anything to interrupt or otherwise show disrespect for him. But as the
mia¡ires roll by and the discussion about men's duties continues seemingly without
e"df,the people become noticeably restless and uncomfortable and it is difficult to
is acnrally heard and understood by people
always seems to listen intentl¡ if only
esinos and his words a¡e directed to them.
out an hour and fifty minutes longer than
ny-the wedding couple is released from
Moitesinos's grip, they and their godparents sign the ceftificate, and the party
begìns.
LEGAL BTHNOGRA.PIÍY rN AN ERA OF GLOBALTZATTON / 63
Since Montesinos began this human rights-infused civil wedding procedure in
1995, he has presided over approximately one hr¡nd¡ed weddings. Because he will
continue to use this approach as long as he is asked to officiate at weddings in the
province, and because he remains the only person regularly asked to do so, it seems
likeþ that an entire generation of young people will receive his instructions on
huma¡ rights at this crucial moment in their lives. Ir is difficult ro assess the impact
of this moral philosophizing on young people, but right before I left Sac¿c¿ in
August 1999 e. mural that was created by an organized group of some seniors from
the local high school appeared just off Sacacat plaza. The mu¡al said: "Organizados
por nuestros derechos" ("'$Øe are organized for our righa"); "derechos" in this context
clearly meant "derechos humanos."
Apart from civil weddings, which a¡e the most obvious and dramatic settings in
which Montesinos pursues his passion for teaching otlers about human righa, there
a¡e also other areas in which he is able to insert his moral arrd legal viiion into his
work During consultations in his office as a private lawyer, Montesinos frequendy
refers to general principles of human rights-and especially the rights ofwomen and
children-when advising clients and planning legal strategies for sessions at the local
couft. Althoryh he does not have t.he personal resources to restart the SLI, he does
continue to receive rvomen in his office who a¡e victims of the same rypes of crimes
handled by the Center: physical and pqychological abuse, sexual assault, spousal
abandonment, and breach of promisè to ma¡ry in exchange for sexual relations.
Montesinos eccepts as many of these c:$es as he can given his schedule and other
duties.
The last major area of his work in which Montesinos is able to incorporate his
moral and legal vision is during cou¡t sessions. Because'of the contentious nature of
the relationship between Montesinos a¡rd the current iudge-ìishich is linked in large
part to the judge's resistance to the SLI's activities-{ourt sessions in which
Montesinos represents a party can devolve into a tense batde of wills, particularly
when the case involves senual assault, physical 'tgression, or spousal abandonment,
types 'of cases to which Montesinos devotes most of his time and energy. \?hat
Êequendy happens is that it becomes apparent soon after a couft sesbion begins that
the judge is not favorably disposed to the claims of Montesinos's dient, who is
usually a plaintiff.
But before allowing the judge to dismiss the claim and end the session, something
Montesinos is prepared for, he asl¡s politeþ if he may have a chance to make a formal
statement. Because the request is made so calmly and formally despite the obvious
tension between them, the judge usually grants Montesinost request. This gives
Montesinos the oppornrnity to deliver ¿ version of his human rights/gender roles
lecu¡e that he delivers at weddings; only here the lecru¡e is not given to a couple as
they look to the future, but rather to a man (or boy) who has already violated the
moral order as Montesinos understands it. Despite knowing that his client will
receive no legal redress, when he is allowed to add¡ess the court in this situation
Montesinos delivers a fiery lecture and rebuke until the judge finally ends the session
by ringing a small bell. I have seen many younger men a¡d boys leave the room
weeping with Montesinos dosely following and still admonishing them for violat-
ing what he calls "el derecho universal,o the universal law.
6+ / :naerxcooDALE
Implications for Methodology
A. Follou tbe ldzas
If it is true that in order to uncover the primary motivations behind political behav-
ior one should follow rhe mone¡ then itis also true that if a legal ethnographer wants
to .understand the complo<iry áf bg.li.y in an era of globalization,_he or she should
h formal tegal theory and notions of what
llow the legal ideas where they lead, and
thcy often lead to unocpected Pþ"o:
ãr, *""kirrg th. ^o.rå*.n. åf t.g¡ ideas-from, ro, and within ru¡al Bolivia, I had
tq.fikewise ,riolr. "on *tly. Paniðipant-observation and interviewing sdll formed
or'rle United States. I followed union workers, like theçorregidor ar¡xilia¡ of Molino
LEGAL BTIrNocRAprry rN AN ER.* oF cr,oBAr,rzaTrorv / 65
T'ika¡oma (see above, note 13), as he made his way from r¡nion meeting to union
meeting and to larger regional centers, where he agitated for workers' rights and
soaked up more rights doctrine in the process.
The legal ideas that were important for my resea¡ch made their way into docu-
ments, and so I followed the paper trail as it took me to Sucre, the nationt legal capi-
tal, and Potosf, the releva¡t departmental capital. In making legal ideas t}re central
objects ofresearch, as opposed to institutions or actors, my focus obviously changed
from the uadidonal legal ethnographic project. Funheç'the resea¡ch Process became
more unpredicable, beceuse I did not know in advance where the movement of legal
ideas would lead or even if they would continue to be dynamic. But the rewa¡d was
that the prorect gained a coherence that did not seem a¡dficial or contrived. It did in
fact appear to me tlrat the ideas themselves were motivating disparate actors in ways
that I could üace and understa¡d using these multisited techniques. Conversely, it
would have been difficult to track the movement of, and understand, these ideas by
Ucating the legal universe ofÁlonso de Ibañez as closed, "autopoeitic," or structurally
static, or the *field site" as circumscribed by the bounda¡ies of the province.
B. Lega l- Inte IIz caø I B ; o
grap lrj
The second technique that I used to track the impact of globalization on legaliry in
Alonso de Ibañez was to focus on what can be called "legal-intellecn¡al biography."
Although there a¡e many legal actors in the province, it bec¿me clea¡ to me from early
on thai ce¡tain individu¿ls in the province were serving ai lightening rods for the
movemenr of legal ideas. Given the fact that the province itself was at the receiving
end of so many international development efforts, it was perhaps inevitable that a few
people would have realized from the beginning that new (in this ese leæl) ideas
would from then on be transforming local understandings in profound ways. Lucio
Montesinos was one such person. Because I was also attempting to follow the impor-
tant tegal ideas, I raltzndthat I was confronted with something of an epistemologiel
tension: On the one hand, I was emphasizing the way legal ideas moved in dynamic
and unpredictable ways and how these Processes were central to producing knowledqe
about legality'in -Alonso de Ibañez; but on the other hand, by focusing on legal intel-
lectuals like Montesinos, I was moving away Êom the legal ideas themselves and
(appearing to) return to a traditiontl l.g3l ethnographic focus on legal actors. At the
timi this iension caused me much frustration, but I see now that it is endemic to the
currenr problem of using ethnographic methods to sildy l.æli.y through its
local-regional-global articulations.
Bec¿use of ãevelopments in technology and communication, legal ideas like
righs doctrin.s could be announced in Europe or the United States (for example
IiO Cor¡ention 169), transmitted to Le Paz, then inuoduced to someone like
Lucio Montesinos, who then returns to Aloruo de Ibañez a¡rd introduces such ideas
to the thor¡sands of people in the province. '!7ìthin a short time the legal ideas are
trar¡sformed locally, and representatives of NGOs, or Montesinos himself, t]ren serve
as channels for the flow of the new legal ideas back to the sources. For example,
the notion of "indigenous righs," which NGOs attempted to incorporate into devel-
opment efforts in rural .Bolivia, underwent significant changes as such ideas were
66 / :l¡aBxcooDALB
Conclusion
Notes
.hT_,ts.
LEGAL ETHNOGRAPIIY IN AN BRA oF GLoBALTzATIoN / 67
3. Convention 169, oficially called the "Indigenous a¡rd Tïibal Peoples Convention, 1989,"
has forry-four a¡tides and wâs mqmt to either replace or update many provisions of the
"Indigenous a¡d Tibal Populations Convention, 1957." Convention 169 deÂnes indige-
nous 'peoples" (which replaces 'þopulations") in A¡ticle 1, Section 1(b) as þeoples in
independent countries who a¡e regarded as indigenous on accor,urt of their descent Êom
the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the coun-
try, belonç, at tÏe time of conquest or colonizetioa the esab.üshment of present srate
bounda¡ies and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or dl of their own social,
economic, cultu¡al and political institutions." ,tmong the forty-four a¡tides, rwo are
particularly relevant for my purposes here. A¡ticle 8 ¡eads in firll:
l. In appþing national laws a¡rd regulations to dre peoples concerned, due regard shall be
had to their cr¡stoms customa¡y laws.
2. These peoples shall have the right to reain tåeir own customs a¡rd institutioru, whe¡e
tlese a¡e not incompatible with fundamental rights defined by the national legal rystem
and witlr internationally recogrized human righa. Procedu¡es shall be eseblished, when-
ever nec€ssary, to resolve conflicts which may arise in the application ofthis principle.
3. The application of paragraphs I a¡rd 2 of this Anicle shall not prevent members of these
peoples from ocercising the righs granted to all citizens and from assuming the corre-
sponding duúes.
And Anide 9 reads in firll:
1. To the e>ctent compatible with dre national legal system and interqationally recognized
human rights, the methods customarily practiced by the peoples concerned for dealing
wittr offences com¡niaed by their members shall be respected.
2. The customs of these peoples in regard to penal ma[ters shall be taken into conside¡a-
tion by rhe autlorities and cou¡ts dealing with such cases. r
4. Fo¡ how NGOs working in the Andes have attempted to utilize "saberes a¡rdinos," see espe-
cially Cueto 1995. The co¡rservation and development literature on developing countries
and the Andes is ortensive, but see in particular two very good studies Êom a geographer's
point of view: Zimmerer a¡rd Young (eds. 1998), and Zimmere¡ 1996. The definidve work
critic¿I of"development" as a¡¡ idea a¡rd ideologically-charged practice is still Escoba¡ 1995.
5. Some of the NGOs ttrat were active in rural Bolivia during 1990s that adopted this
approach were the following: Mosoj Causay (Belgium, potable water), PCI (Jnited States,
"work fo¡ food'), and PROINPA (Hollaad, potato projects).
6. During L998-1999I was present during many of these initial "conte)rt-building" meednç.
Most of the official descriptions by NGO leaders were simply versions of relwant ponions
ofinternational charters, for example ILO 169, A¡ticle 7, Section 1, which ¡eads:
l. The peoples concemed shall have the right to decide their own priorities for the process
of dwelopment as it affects thei¡ lives, beließ, insticutions and spiritual well-being and the
lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to o<ercise conuol, to the entcnt possible, over
their own economic, social and cultual dwelopment. In addition, they shall particþate
in the formulation, implementation and ev"¿luation of plans and programmes for national
and regional development whi.h *y affect them direcdy.
7. A¡"^r/nf is an erhnic political and legal entity that has been the basic unit ofÁndea¡r social
organization Êom pre-hispanic times. Particularly in the north of Potosl, ayllus reain many
prehispanic featu¡es, including "an intemal organization based on dud a¡rd venically-
organized segments, communal distribution of resou¡ces, and a ienic¿l' land tenure
rystem which includes tÏe use of non-conttgaous puna (hight¿rnd) and valley lands" (Rivera
Cusicanqui 1991; see also Plan 1982). The internal organization ofayllus in the north of
Potosl ce¡r be conceptualized as a set ofinlaid boxes, with each territorial and kinship unit
68 / u,qnx cooDALE
part of an ever larger set of eürnic units, whic.h culminate in one grand unit, itself divided
inro two moieties, which relate to each other as complementary opposites (Plaa 1982: 5).
8. "Hamlet" is rhe best word in English to describe the aggregatiðns of families who live
oucide Sacaca in the province. The words "town" or "village" convey a sense of size and
suuctu¡e that is inappropriare as applied to these aggregations. The hamlet dwellers tlem-
selves use words in either Quechua or Aymara to describe where thry live; in Quechua,
the wo¡d "llajtd' is used, preceded by the name of the hanilet, for ocample Tanka¡achi
Ilajta." But llajta is best translated as 'þlace," which is not definite enough for wider appli-
cation. The Spanish words used in Alonso de Iba-ñez for the hamlets a¡e eithe¡ 'ianchu'
(a Quechuazaúon of 'rancho") or Íestancia" ("farm or c¿tde ranch); "comunidad"
("communiry') is also sometimes used. Because these Spanish words a¡e used in legal
documents, rhey have been wideþ adopted by the people in the ha¡nles tlemselves, to
the point where they have replaced "llajta' with eirher 'ra¡rchu' "estancia" when
discussing their hamlets among themselves.
9. Although both 'ranchu" and *estancia" a¡e used interchangeably by the authorities in
Sacaca a¡rd at the regional and national levels to refer to the ayllu hamlets in.Alonso de
Ibaiez, the te¡ms are not synonymous to the hamlet dwellers themselves, a fact that seems
to have been ove¡looked by both Bolivian census workers and resea¡chers (both Bolivian
and foreign). To rhe runa ("the people" in Quechua, tlre term used by people in many
parts of the Quechua-speaking highlands to refer to themselves in their ovrm langu€e,
which they rll run¿ simi, "languzge of the people"), both ranchu and estancia c¿¡r ¡efer
to their hamlets according to coûrmon r¡sage (see note 8). But the word ranchu is reserved
for the bigger ofthe ha¡nlea, usually one ofthe major cantonal centers. Estancia is used
for ever¡hing else. The confirsion lies in the fact that strict guidelines a¡e not used when
calling one hamlet e ra¡rchu or an estancia; one just "knows" which hamlets are ranchus
and which are estencias, and this intuitive knowledge can only be accessed by asking
. people in as rnany hamles as possible..Although I did research in forty out of the approx-
imately 200 hamlea, I am still unable to list a definite set of criteria in this regard. Despite
10.
iþation
11. lii 199 n the vote of the Santa Cruz
þ"gion, political intrigues dating from
fie early 1970s.
12. iÀw 1493 (17 September t993), a law passed through Boliviat executive branch, created
Se Ministry of Human Development. Anicle 71, No. 5 of Supreme Decree 23660
A¡tides
er Issues
Human
PIa¡r for
óe Eradication, Prevention, and Punishment of Vìolence Against'W'omen. A¡ticle I of
¡his Resolution created the system of Servicios Legales Integrales to c¡ury out the
þolution's objectives. l-zw 1674 (1995), passed by the Bolivian Congress, oudined the
nanue and function of the SLIs and authorized their establishment. In practice, SLIs ca¡r
LEGAL ETHNOGRAPTÍY rN AN ERA OF GLOBALTZATTON / 69
only be established after a formal application is made on behalf of a municipality with the
assurance that supplemental funding will be provided.
13. A corregidor auxilia¡ is a "traditional" authority position found in some pa¡ts of rural
Bolivia that dates to the colonial era This particular corregidor auxilia¡ was famous in
Alonso de Ibaftez, for his union activism and fo¡ the way he studied international human
rights doctrine and prosel¡ized with these ideas to other union members throughout the
province, and indeed throughout the north of Potos( Department. For mo¡e on him, see
Goodale 2001.
14. The numbers of new criminal cases opened in the local cawt, the jazgado d¿ instru¿ción,
beween 1985 and 1994 a¡e as follows: 1985 (38), 1986 (31),1987 (29), 1988 Q5),1989
(23), ree} QL), r9et (30),1992 (16), ree3 (23), tee4 Q7).
15. Yet despite the drop in numbe¡s, the totd number of women who came to r}re Center
beúreen 1995 a¡¡d the end ofthe 2nd quarter of 1997 as a perceûtage ofthe totd numbe¡
of women in the first section of the province is stillsignifica¡t. In fact, intake forms Êom
the SLI a¡chive show that mosr of the women were from the provincet first section (there
a¡e two sections in the province), in which case the 1,100 women arrivals would repre-
sent fourteen percent of the female population of the fust section based on figures in the
. 1992 National Census (INE 1992). But even ifwe use the female population of t}re entire
1997 there were akeedy 22 cases involving child¡en by the end of the second quârter.
1996), I-ayupampa (second querter 1997),lhpa-l)apa (second quarter 1997),'Waraya
(second quaner 1997), Sacaca (July 1997), Sacee' (September t997), nd Tärwachapi
(November 1997).
18. This does not mea¡r that there would have been twenty-five hearings a month, which
would have been difrcult; but the cou¡t could have opened ¡¡¡enty-Êve neu cases emonth
without much dificulty.
19. Though not sexual assault of men by l\,omen, the possibilþ of which would be unthink-
able in Bolivia.
20. He had previously nrled the country as a military dist¿¡e¡-ths¡ known as Colonel
Banzer--$etween l97L and L978.
21. The new mayor did not suppon the Center even though he was a member of Sánchcz de
Lozadat MNR (Movimiento Nacionalista Revoluciona¡io) parry. Although Banzert party
is the ADN (Acción Democrática Nacionalista), there is often a considerable dme lag
before the new poliúcal parry et the national level begins replacing functiona¡ies at dre
provincial lwel.
22. inlegal anduopology, Sa1ly Falk Moores semi-autonomous socid frelds (1973, 1978)
certainly required e reconcep$âlizâtion of 'the ûeld' much along the lines discussed in
Ma¡cus, and Gupta and Ferguson (1997e,b), and even Santos (1995).
23. I would like to thank the Belgian director of the NGO Mosoj Causa¡ which was ¿ctive
in Alonso de Ibaiez during 1998-1999, for information regarding the type ofprocess
described here.
7o / v.exxcooDAr,r
References
A¡chives consulted
Sac¿ca:
Juzgado de instrucción [DI) (SLI)
Sacaca (cuaderno de actas), 199G1999 (ACT)
de Saceca; 1998-1999 (DPP)
Hamlea:
Cuade¡no de âctas, Molìno T'ikanoma" minor,{yllu Jilawi Cuerpo/Mayor (CDAMÐ
Internationd laws consulted
Internaúonal kbor Organization, Convention 169 (1989)
Bolivian laws consulted
LryN". I55I (1994), Participación Popular
Ley No. 1654 (1995), Descent¡alización Administ¡ativa
Ley No. 1674 (1995), Servicios Iægales Integrales
Codigo civil
Codigo de familia
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... Moreover, states in Latin America had every reason to deny the existence of legal pluralism within their borders; to do otherwise would mean to acknowledge a basic weakness in national sovereignty, which depends, among other things, on internal legal hegemony. But the difficulties with understanding legal pluralism in Latin America become compounded because those who have a stake in alternative legal structures-often rural people living at the margins of national legal consciousness-likewise have every reason to deny the existence of what is for them often the "real" law, a law that serves not only to resolve their conflicts, establish and reaffirm their rights and obligations, etc., but also serves as a potent symbol of community resistance to state power (see Goodale 2002aGoodale , 2002bGoodale , 2008Rappaport 1994;Santos 1995). In spite of these difficulties, an anthropological interest in legal pluralism in Latin America has increased, particularly over the last 15 years. ...
... This shift by the world's largest association of professional anthropologists paralleled much more modest, but similar, collaborations between anthropologists, human rights activists, and local leaders in places like Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, and Guatemala (see Sanford, this volume). Although very few anthropologists have made the emergence of human rights discourse in Latin America a topic for ethnographic and critical inquiry, rather than simply a vehicle for ethical engagement (but see Goldstein 2004;Goodale 2002aGoodale , 2008Postero 2007;Speed 2007) there are now several important new spaces for investigation. First, anthropologists of law in Latin America must study the mid-range effects of the rise of human rights discourse, particularly to see whether or not subaltern populations are experiencing greater exploitation at the same time as they employ what can be a powerful legal framework for the recognition of local grievances. ...
... Moreover, as Warren confirms for Guatemala, social actors throughout Latin America are compelled to perform culture within a state of permanent and "dramatic political change," and this constant structural dynamism rises to the level of social-ontological transformation, so that the practice of everyday life can no longer be measured by degrees of distance from a kind of social or political steady state, but must be reconceptualized in such a way that "dramatic" change is allowed to occupy a benchmark role in both ethnographic research and sociocultural theory. It should be emphasized that this framework for studying and reflecting on the relationship between social practice and political change is not a version of historical materialism in postnationalist clothing; rather, it reflects the synthesis of a maturing critique of transnationalism and translocalism with a broader reconsideration of ethnography as the methodology of social transformation par excellence (see Goodale 2002aGoodale , 2006aGoodale , 2006b). But the argument for an ethnography of instability in Latin America is not simply innovative as applied to engaged research in the political spaces "crossed by colonialism, war, and [the] … new national and transnational arrangements" ( Greenhouse 2002:11). ...
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Anthropological study of law in Latin America; legalities and illegalities; networks of law; influential ethnographic descriptions of legal pluralism; subaltern politics in new register - rights mobilization and coming of rights NGOS; legal ethnography in unstable places; social practice of law in Latin America
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Transnational Legal Ordering of Criminal Justice - edited by Gregory Shaffer July 2020
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Do we wish to have more disputes enter the official system and proceed further toward definitive resolution? Is the utopia of access to justice a condition in which all disputes are fully adjudicated? Do we want a world in which there is perfect penetration of norms downward through the pyramid so that all disputes are resolved by application of the authoritative norms propounded by the courts? We know enough about the work of courts to suspect that such a condition would be monstrous in its own way. – Marc Galanter If every working matter comes to the law, believe me, neither the Iraqi courts nor the religious authorities could handle it … There are a lot of things the state doesn't know, and we solve it among ourselves mutually. … What, every suit, every working matter is going to go to court? – Shaykh Mazen Falih Muhammad Al-'Araiby If we adopt a conventional, but by no means unchallenged, definition of legal pluralism as the existence of two or more legal systems operating within the same social field, is it necessarily the case that these legal orders are in perduring and well-nigh irresolvable conflict? Based on our own work among Iraq's Shi'i tribes, we answer the question emphatically in the negative, and assert that more attention needs to be paid to the possibilities of some form of cooperation between seemingly inconsistent legal systems. Although these have been discussed before, all too often the study of the relationship between state and non-state law presumes a high level of competition that may well be accurate in some contexts, but is fundamentally misplaced in others. Our work in Iraq has demonstrated that far from resenting state law, or regarding its rules as ineffective, alien or inferior, Iraq's Shi'i tribes often embrace Iraq's state law, and quite often regard the tribal law as being in broad cooperation with it in the maintaining of order within their respective social field.
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INTRODUCTION At the end of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's dizzyingly suggestive but frustratingly vague book Empire, the authors take the leap that we all know is coming, but which, given the heights that have come before, we anticipate with a certain amount of dread. After having described what they understand to be a new global socio-political configuration, and having shrouded their analysis in a kind of ominousness, given the fact that Empire emerges through the self-disciplining of millions of individuals around the world, outside of the traditional institutions that can be resisted or even appropriated, they nevertheless go on to predict a revolution by the “multitude” against Empire. It is not the neo-Marxist epistemology that is so unsatisfying about this abrupt end to what is surely one of the most innovatively forethinking works of critical scholarship in recent years, one perfectly and organically embedded in its times. And nor must we necessarily object to the way in which its neo-Marxist social analysis reflects a peculiar transformation since 1989, in which the scientific trappings of dialectical materialism have been replaced by a giddy mysticism, so that the fall of the Soviet system should no longer dampen the “irrepressible lightness and joy of being communist” (2000: 413). Rather, the disappointment with their invocation of revolution is two-fold. First, it is entirely prefigured, rather than established; as I said, we know a prediction of massive system disrupture is coming because we know the theoretical trajectory in which the analysis of Empire is located.
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In a highly critical article, Naz K. Modirzadeh (2006) challenges the international human rights community's refusal to address Shari'ah, or Islamic law, when it appears to foster violations of international human rights norms. According to her, this strategy is characterized by a caveat fidelis in almost all Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reports focusing on Muslim societies, stating that international human rights NGOs (INGOs) take no position on religious law in the region and, for the most part, avoid the fact that many human rights violations in the region are rooted in some form or interpretation of Shari'ah. For most Muslims, she argues, “The question of “Islam and human rights’ is not, in fact, whether or not there is a conflict but, rather, how such a conflict is to be addressed”; the fact that INGOs refuse to address this conflict between two competing legal regimes is “bad for activists, bad for Islamic law, and bad for human rights” (2–3). In an equally persuasive manner, Anthony Chase (2006) argues for the necessity of pursuing human rights in Muslim-majority Arab states outside of the framework of Islam: “[P]laying on Islamic turf is not only a transparent, losing strategy,…but, more dangerously, it also de-legitimizes non-Islamic norms in predominantly Muslim societies and implicitly accepts their marginalization” (Chase, 2006: 22). For him, human rights violations grow out of political, economic, and social phenomena rather than out of Islam; therefore, addressing and preventing violations must involve political, economic, and social solutions rather than reference to religion.
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This article represents a search for a different analytical language through which anthropology can engage with human rights. This effort is intended to contribute to what is an expanding range of ways in which anthropologists conceptualize, advocate for, and critique contemporary human rights. Its central argument is that current ethnographic studies of human rights practices can be used as the basis for making innovative claims within human rights debates that take place outside of anthropology itself. To do this, ethnographic description that captures the contradictions and contingencies at the heart of human rights practices is not enough. What is needed is a different understanding of how the idea of human rights comes to be formed in context. In this article, I suggest several possible ways that an anthropological philosophy of human rights can accomplish this. I conclude by locating this approach in relation to a longer history of anthropological skepticism toward universalist discourses.
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International law, including human rights law, has expanded enormously in the past century. A growing body of anthropological research is investigating its principles and practices. Contemporary international law covers war and the treatment of combatants and noncombatants in wartime; international peace and security; the peaceful settlement of disputes; economic arrangements and trade agreements; the regulation of the global commons such as space, polar regions, and the oceans; environmental issues; the law of the sea; and human rights. This review demonstrates how anthropological theory helps social scientists, activists, and lawyers understand how international law is produced and how it works. It also shows the value of ethnographic studies of specific sites within the complex array of norms, principles, and institutions that constitute international law and legal regulation. These range from high-level commercial dispute settlement systems to grassroots human rights organizations around the world.
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In this article I explore the emergence of complicated new forms of indigeneity in Bolivia over the last 15 years. I argue that although what I describe as a second revolution is under way in contemporary Bolivia, there is a danger that this revolution will be misread by scholars, political commentators, and others because of the prevailing tendency to interpret social and moral movements in Bolivia (and elsewhere) in rigidly neopolitical–economic terms. I offer an alternative theoretical framework for understanding current developments in Bolivia, which I describe as “indigenous cosmopolitanism”: the ability of national political leaders, youth rappers in El Alto, rural indigenous activists, and others to bring together apparently disparate discursive frameworks as a way of reimagining categories of belonging in Bolivia, and, by extension, the meanings of modernity itself.
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How do transnational ideas such as human rights approaches to violence against women become meaningful in local social settings? How do they move across the gap between a cosmopolitan awareness of human rights and local sociocultural understandings of gender and family? Intermediaries such as community leaders, nongovernmental organization participants, and social movement activists play a critical role in translating ideas from the global arena down and from local arenas up. These are people who understand both the worlds of transnational human rights and local cultural practices and who can look both ways. They are powerful in that they serve as knowledge brokers between culturally distinct social worlds, but they are also vulnerable to manipulation and subversion by states and communities. In this article, I theorize the process of translation and argue that anthropological analysis of translators helps to explain how human rights ideas and interventions circulate around the world and transform social life.
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Preface Introduction 1. Visions of Science and Development: The Rockefeller FoundationOs Latin American Surveys of the 1920s Marcos Cueto 2. Nationalism and Public Health: The Convergence of Rockefeller Foundation Technique and Brazilain Federal Authority during the Time of Yellow Fever, 1925-1930 Steven C. Williams 3. The Rockefeller Foudnation in Revolutionary Mexico: Yellow Fever in Yucatan and Veracruz Armando Solorzano 4. Exporting American Agriculture: The Rockefeller Foundation in Mexico, 1943-1953 Deborah Fitzgerald 5. The Rockefeller FoundationOs Mexican Agricultural Project: A Cross-Cultural Encounter, 1943-1949 Joseph Cotter 6. The Rockefeller FoudationOs Medical Policy and Scientific Research in Latin America: The Case of Physiology Marcos Cueto 7. Th Rockefeller Foundation and the Emergence of Genetics in Brazil, 1943-1960 Thomas F. Glick Contributors Index
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Economic and political reforms imposed on Bolivian indigenous communities (ayllus) in the name of modernisation and democracy have actually furthered long‐standing colonial forms of oppression. Both liberal reformers and nationalist revolutionaries promoted a concept of citizenship which displaced and undermined indigenous social organisation and political practice. Even in the 1980s, progressive and leftist parties, unions, and development organisations continued to marginalise the democratic internal life of the northern Potosí ayllus.