Indigenous Struggles, Legal Pluralities and Fragmented Sovereignties: Reflections on Law, Illegality and the Multicultural State

Institute of Latin American Studies

2016 Thyra Alleyne Memorial Lecture

Indigenous Struggles, Legal Pluralities and Fragmented Sovereignties: Reflections on Law, Illegality and the Multicultural State

Dr Rachel Sieder
(CIESAS, Mexico)

In twenty-first century Latin America the law is frequently invoked as means to achieve social order, cohesion and new forms of inclusion. At the same time, dominant groups claim that illegalities of all kinds are gaining ground and require more “law” to secure more resilient forms of “order.” Indigenous peoples’ social movements have attempted to realize the emancipatory potentials of international, national and alternative legal orders, yet despite decades of multicultural recognition their actions are frequently defined by dominant groups as illegal. How are we to understand the shifting interplays between different forms and scales of legality and illegality? In this lecture I will discuss legal pluralism and indigenous peoples’ claims to sovereignty in Mexico and Guatemala.

About the speaker: Dr Rachel Sieder is Senior Research Professor at the Center for Research and Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City since 2007. She is also Associate Fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UCL-IA Honorary Senior Research Associate, and associate senior researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway. Rachel Sieder has developed seminal work on human rights, indigenous rights, social movements, indigenous law, legal anthropology, the state and violence in Latin America. Among her major publications are The Judicialization of Politics in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, ed. with Line Schjolden and Alan Angell), Cultures of Legality: Judicialization and Political Activism in Latin America (CUP, 2010, ed. with Javier Couso and Alex Huneeus), and The Handbook of Law and Society in Latin America (Routledge, forthcoming, ed. with Karina Ansolabehere).

About the discussant: Dr Pilar Domingo is a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI, London). She has conducted extensive research in Latin America on issues related to the rule of law and judicial politics, security and violence, rights and citizenship, transitional justice and democratisation. More recently her research has broadened to include other regional areas as well as work on women’s rights and empowerment in post-conflict/post-transition contexts.

The event is sponsored by the Thyra Alleyne Trust Fund.

School of Advanced Study, University of London
Dr Rachel Sieder (CIESAS, Mexico)
Event date: 
Thursday, 14 April 2016 - 1:00am
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