Legal Subjectivity, Popular / Community Justice and Human Rights in Latin America

22 January 2010 - 23 January 2010

St Edmund’s College, Mount Pleasant, Cambridge


Sandra Brunnegger (University of Cambridge)

Keynote speakers

Julio Faundez (University of Warwick)
Daniel Goldstein (Rutgers University, USA)
Mark Goodale (George Mason University, USA)
Rachel Sieder (Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico)

Conference summary

This conference aims to promote interdisciplinary debate between scholars from Law, Anthropology, Political Science and related fields in order to probe new constellations of popular/community justice, human rights and local forms of legal subjectivity in Latin America. In particular, the conference seeks to generate critical analysis by investigating discourses on rights and justice as these are variously understood, adopted, resisted and (re)constructed through processes of communal justice (e.g. community tribunals, vigilantism) and by various agencies and legal subjects in the context of different social, political, and cultural settings  (e.g. community leaders, NGOs, institutions).

Further information

Conference participants can find information about accommodation in Cambridge at the following URLs:
NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.

Conference sponsors

The conference convenor would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the following sponsors:

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)
7th European Community Framework Programme No 237549
Social and Legal Studies
St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge
Society for Latin American Studies


Administrative assistance: Anna Malinowska (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)


Friday, 22 January

08:30 -09:00 Registration and Coffee


Session I
Chair: Fiona Macaulay (University of Bradford)

09:15 - 09:45

Graham Denyer Willis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
Justice Contrived: Civil Police, Constraint and Democracy in São Paulo, Brazil

9:45-10.15 Daniel Reichman (University of Rochester, USA)
Truth and Traceability: Transparent Commodities and New Legal Subjectivities in Honduras


10:30 - 11:00
Coffee break

11:00 - 11:30
Lieselotte Viaene (Ghent University, Belgium)
Localizing Reparation After Gross Human Rights Violations: Maya Q’eqchi’ Voices on the National Reparations Programme of Guatemala

11:30 - 12:00
Discussion and discussant's comments
Discussant: David Lehmann (University of Cambridge)

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

Session II
Chair: David Lehmann (University of Cambridge) 

13:00 - 13:45
Keynote address
Mark Goodale (George Mason University, USA)

Human Rights and the Moral Imagination in Contemporary Latin

13:45 - 14:00

14:00 - 14:30
Ella McPherson (University of Cambridge, UK)
The Public Framing of the 2006 Atenco Conflict in Mexico and Implications for Justice

14:30 - 15:00
Joanna Cichecka (Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland)
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo – Demands for Memory, Justice and Truth: Dealing with Human Rights Violations

15:00 - 15:15

15:15 - 15:30
Coffee break

15:30 - 16:00 Karen Faulk (University of Michigan / Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
‘Justice, Justice, you will seek’:  Security and Rights in Buenos Aires

16:00 - 16:30
Noa Vaisman (University of Chicago, USA)
Legal Subjects, Ontologies and DNA: Human Rights in Post-Dictatorship Argentina


Discussion and discussant's comments
Discussant: Sian Lazar (University of Cambridge) 



Keynote address
Julio Faundez (University of Warwick, UK)
Can Constitutional reform empower indigenous communities in Latin America?


Conference dinner:
Parker Room, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Speakers only

Saturday, 23 January

Session III
Chair: Sandra Brunnegger (University of Cambridge)

09:00 - 09:45
Keynote address
Rachel Sieder (Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico)
Indigenous Law, Violence and the "Multiculturalization" of Justice in Guatemala

09:45 - 10:00 Discussion

10:00 - 10:30
Manuela Picq (Amherst College, USA)
Between the dock and a hard place: exploring the pitfalls of judicial pluralism for indigenous women in Ecuador

10:30 - 11:00
Alonso Barros van Hövell tot Westerflier (Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile)
The Practical Declaration: Lus et Praxis Amongst Atacama Desert Communities

11:00 - 11:15 Discussion

11:15 - 11:30
Coffee break

11:30 - 12:00 Juan Pablo Vera Lugo (Universidad Javeriana, Colombia)
Legal Subjectivities: The Production of Legal Meaning in the Context of Multiculturalism and Transitional Justice in Colombia

12:00 - 12:30

Discussion and discussant's comments
Discussant: Sarah Radcliffe (University of Cambridge)

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch

Session IV
Chair: Sian Lazar (University of Cambridge)

13:30 - 14:15 Daniel Goldstein (Rutgers University, USA)
Community Justice and Problems of Insecurity in Evo's Bolivia

14:15 - 14:30 Discussion

14:30 - 15:00 Narmala Halstead (University of East London, UK)
Grounding the Extra-territorial Local: Violence, Agency and New Boundaries

15:00 - 15:30 Regina Bateson (Yale University)
The political lynching

15:30 - 15:45

15:45 - 16:00
Coffee break

16:00 - 16:30
Gavin Weston (University of Sussex)
The Fiesta de Todos Santos: The Awkward Role of Gossip in Vigilante Justice


Discussion and discussant's comments
Discussant: Rachel Sieder (CIESAS)