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A Sense of Justice Legal Knowledge and Lived Experience in Latin America

Legal Knowledge and Lived Experience in Latin America
Edited by Sandra Brunnegger and Karen Ann Faulk
Stanford University Press
June 2016
Paper ISBN: 9780804799072


Cover of A Sense of Justice by Edited by Sandra Brunnegger and Karen Ann Faulkcorruption

Throughout Latin America, the idea of « justice » serves as the ultimate goal and rationale for a wide variety of actions and causes. In the Chilean Atacama Desert, residents have undertaken a prolonged struggle for their right to groundwater. Family members of bombing victims in Buenos Aires demand that the state provide justice for the attack. In Colombia, some victims of political violence have turned to the courts for resolution, while others reject the state’s ability to fairly adjudicate their grievances and have constructed a non-state tribunal. In each of these examples, the protagonists seek one main thing: justice.

A Sense of Justice ethnographically explores the complex dynamics of justice production across Latin America. The chapters examine (in)justice as it is lived and imagined today and what it means for those who claim and regulate its parameters, including the Brazilian police force, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in Colombia, and the Argentine Supreme Court. Inextricable as « justice » is from inequality, violence, crime, and corruption, it emerges through memory, in space, and where ideals meet practical limitations. Ultimately, the authors show how understanding the dynamic processes of constructing justice is essential to creating cooperative rather than oppressive forms of law.

Link :

About the author :

Sandra Brunnegger is Fellow and Lecturer at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge.

Karen Ann Faulk is Research Professor at the Colegio de México.

La vérité côté cour. Une ethnologue aux assises

Christiane Besnier

La vérité côté cour
Une ethnologue aux assises

La découverte, 2017

ISBN : 9782707192110

Que se dit-il dans une cour d’assises, où se côtoient professionnels et jury populaire ? Comment y rend-on la justice ? Après avoir suivi une quarantaine de procès de 2001 à 2016, véritable immersion dans les prétoires, Christiane Besnier propose la première approche ethnographique de cette juridiction. Elle étudie au plus près, tout en maintenant la distance de l’ethnologue, les rouages du jugement dans les affaires de mœurs (viols et incestes) et d’homicides (meurtres et assassinats).

La recherche de la vérité en cour d’assises se rapproche d’une recherche en laboratoire. À partir de l’observation des faits, le président formule des hypothèses qu’il soumet au débat pour en mesurer la validité – un processus dans lequel l’oralité est décisive. Il est assisté dans cette tâche par les autres acteurs de l’audience. Ainsi, la cour d’assises produit une vérité construite collectivement. La comparaison avec la justice américaine, qui tend à désigner un gagnant et un perdant, au cours d’un affrontement entre avocats, met d’ailleurs en évidence la singularité du modèle français, où toutes les parties contribuent à la recherche graduelle de la vérité, faisant œuvre commune.

La Vérité côté cour initie le lecteur à toutes les étapes du procès, de la salle des pas perdus à celle des délibérés, et lui fait partager ces moments graves à travers de nombreuses citations saisies sur le vif.

Christiane Besnier est ethnologue. Elle dirige des recherches sur les juridictions criminelles en France et en Europe au sein du Centre d’anthropologie culturelle de Paris Descartes. Elle est rédacteur en chef de la revue Droit et Cultures (université Paris Nanterre).

On Retaliation

Bertram Turner and Günther Schlee (ed.)

On Retaliation
Towards an Interdisciplinary
Understanding of a Basic Human Condition

Berghahn, 2017

ISBN  978-1-78533-418-4

Retaliation is associated with all forms of social and political organization, and retaliatory logics inform many different conflict resolution procedures from consensual settlement to compensation to violent escalations. This book derives a concept of retaliation from the overall notion of reciprocity, defining retaliation as the human disposition to strive for a reactive balancing of conflicts and injustices. On Retaliation presents a synthesized approach to both the violence-generating and violence-avoiding potentials of retaliation. Contributors to this volume touch upon the interaction between retaliation and violence, the state’s monopoly on legitimate punishment and the factors of socio-political frameworks, religious interpretations and economic processes.


Introduction: On Retaliation: Conceptual Plurality, Transdisciplinary Research, Rifts, Blurrings and Translations
Bertram Turner


Chapter 1. Revenge and Retaliation: A Social-functionalist Approach
Mario Gollwitzer and Arne Sjöström

Chapter 2. In The Heart of the Moment: The Influence of Visceral Factors on Retaliation
Robert J. Bies and Thomas M. Tripp


Chapter 3. A Criminal is a Victim is a Criminal? An Economist’s View on the Victim-Offender Overlap
Horst Entorf

Chapter 4. Laypeople’s Reactions to Deviancy as Determined by Retributive Motives
Margit E. Oswald


Chapter 5. Violent Crimes and Retaliation in the European Criminal Justice System between the Seventeenth and Nineteen Centuries
Karl Härter

Chapter 6. Crime in Motion: Predation, Retaliation and the Spread of Urban Violence
Richard Wright, Volkan Topalli and Scott Jacques


Chapter 7. Crime and Punishment: Intentionality and Diya in Algeria and Sudan
Yazid Ben Hounet

Chapter 8. ‘Bewitched People and Bad Luck Everywhere!’ Disputing and Magical Retaliation in SiSwati-Speaking Southern Africa
Severin Lenart


Chapter 9. Forum Shopping as Retaliation in Disguise: How Nomadic Fulbe Condemn Retaliation and Forum Shopping, but Practise Them Anyway
Albert K. Drent

Chapter 10. Customary Law and the Joys of Statelessness: Somali Realities beyond Libertarian Fantasies
Günther Schlee


Chapter 11. Retaliation in Postwar Times: An Analysis of the Rhetoric and Practices of Retaliation in Bamyan, Afghanistan, 2009
Friederike Stahlmann

Chapter 12. The International Criminal Court Reparation System: Punishment, Retaliation, Restoration
Pietro Sullo

Conclusion: Retaliation in Specific Spheres of Effectiveness
Bertram Turner


Truth, Intentionality and Evidence.

Yazid Ben Hounet, Deborah Puccio-Den (ed.)

Truth, Intentionality and Evidence
Anthropological Approaches to Crime

 Routledge, March 2017

ISBN: 9781138646094


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This book provides an anthropological exploration of the ways in which crime is perceived and defined, focusing on notions of truth, intentionality, and evidence. The chapters contain rich ethnographic case studies drawn from work in the Middle East, Africa, India, Mexico and Europe. A variety of instances are discussed, from court proceedings, police reports and newspapers to moments of conflict resolution and reconciliation. Through analysis of this material, the authors reflect on how perception of an act as a crime can differ and how the definition of crime may not be shared by all societies. The approach takes into consideration local standards as well as social, legal and contextual constraints.

Table of Contents :

1. Questioning the Truth. Ideals of Justice and Trial Techniques in India 2. Evidence, Certainty, and Doubt: Judge’s Knowledge in Iranian Criminal Sanctioning 3. The (ir)relevance of avowals in the interpretation of criminal evidence in Syria 4. On intentionality in Mafia crimes 5. Crime, intentionality and blood money in Algeria and Sudan 6. “To Lose Oneself While Acting”: Crime and Forgiveness in the Mixe Highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico 7. Translating evidentiary practices and technologies of truth finding: oath taking as witness testimony in plural legal configurations in rural Morocco 8. A faded narrative: reconstruction and restitution in medico-legal expertise in India 9. Technologies of truth and access to justice: Becoming an apartheid victim in contemporary South Africa

Culture in the Domains of Law

René Provost (ed.)

Culture in the Domains of Law

Cambridge Studies in Law and Society, 2017

ISBN : 9781107163331

Culture in the Domains of Law
What does it mean for courts and other legal institutions to be culturally sensitive? What are the institutional implications and consequences of such an aspiration? To what extent is legal discourse capable of accommodating multiple cultural narratives without losing its claim to normative specificity? And how are we to understand meetings of law and culture in the context of formal and informal legal processes, when demands are made to accommodate cultural difference? The encounter of law and culture is a polycentric relation, but these questions draw our attention to law and legal institutions as one site of encounter warranting further investigation, to map out the place of culture in the domains of law by relying on the insights of law, anthropology, politics, and philosophy. Culture in the Domains of Law seeks to examine and answer these questions, resulting in a richer outlook on both law and culture.

Table of Contents:

1. Centaur jurisprudence – culture before the law René Provost
Part I. Accommodation of Minority Cultural Practices:
2. Legal pluralism and the interpretive limits of law Anthony Connolly
3. Family law, state recognition and intersecting spheres/spaces: Jewish and Muslim women divorcing in the UK Pascale Fournier
4. Customary norms vs state law. French courts’ responses to the traditional practice of excision Lucia Bellucci
Part II. Aboriginal Law:
5. Law, culture, fact in indigenous claims: legal pluralism as a problem of recognition Kirsten Anker
6. On perpetuity: tradition, law, and the pluralism of Hopi jurisprudence Justin Richland
7. Existing in the hyphen: on relational legal culture Jen Hendry
8. The unexpected effects of the recognition of indigenous rights in New Caledonia: the story of an assimilation measure becoming the trigger for the acculturation of the French legal system Thomas Burelli and Régis Lafargue
Part III. Alternative Dispute Resolution:
9. Cultures of conflict: welcoming and resisting ‘non-Western’ influence in alternative dispute resolution Eric Reiter
10. Rebalancing power and culture: the case of alternative dispute resolution Morgan Brigg
11. Grassroots law in context: moving beyond the cultural justification Kristin Doughty
Part IV. Law in Conflicts:
12. Cannibal laws René Provost
13. Beyond the paradox of exporting the rule of law: resilience and the war on drugs in the Americas David Chandler.

Editor :

René Provost, McGill University, Montréal
René Provost is Professor of Law at McGill University, Canada, where he was the founding director of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He has researched and published widely on international law and legal pluralism. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Québec for his contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences.

Contributors :

René Provost, Anthony Connolly, Pascale Fournier, Lucia Bellucci, Kirsten Anker, Justin Richland, Jen Hendry, Thomas Burelli, Régis Lafargue, Eric Reiter, Morgan Brigg, Kristin Doughty, David Chandler

The Anthropology of Global Organizations

Ronald Niezen & Maria Sapignoli (ed.)

Palaces of Hope
The Anthropology of Global Organizations

Cambridge Studies in Law and Society,  2017

ISBN : 9781107127494

Palaces of Hope

This volume assembles in one place the work of scholars who are making key contributions to a new approach to the United Nations, and to global organizations and international law more generally. Anthropology has in recent years taken on global organizations as a legitimate source of its subject matter. The research that is being done in this field gives a human face to these world-reforming institutions. Palaces of Hope demonstrates that these institutions are not monolithic or uniform, even though loosely connected by a common organizational network. They vary above all in their powers and forms of public engagement. Yet there are common threads that run through the studies included here: the actions of global institutions in practice, everyday forms of hope and their frustration, and the will to improve confronted with the realities of nationalism, neoliberalism, and the structures of international power.

Table of contents:

1. Introduction Ronald Niezen and Maria Sapignoli
2. Heart of darkness: an exploration of the WTO Marc Abélès
3. Horseshoe and catwalk: power, complexity and consensus-making in the United Nations Security Council Niels Nagelhus Schia
4. A kaleidoscopic institutional form: expertise and transformation in the permanent forum on indigenous issues Maria Sapignoli
5. The ‘public’ character of the Universal Periodic Review: contested concept and methodological challenge Jane K. Cowan and Julie Billaud
6. Meeting ‘the world’ at the Palais Wilson: embodied universalism at the UN Human Rights Committee Miia Halme-Tuomisaari
7. Expertise and quantification in global institutions Sally Engle Merry
8. From boardrooms to field programs: humanitarianism and international development in Southern Africa Robert K. Hitchcock
9. Global village courts: international organizations and the bureaucratization of rural justice systems in the Global South Tobias Berger
10. Contrasting values of forests and ice in the making of a global climate agreement Noor Johnson and David Rojas
11. The best of the best: positing, measuring and sensing value in the UNESCO World Heritage Arena Christoph Brumann
12. Propaganda on trial: structural fragility and the epistemology of international legal institutions Richard Ashby Wilson
13. The anthropology by organizations: legal knowledge and the UN’s ethnological imagination Ronald Niezen

Editors :

Ronald Niezen (McGill University, Montréal)
Ronald Niezen holds the Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy in the Faculty of Law and the Department of Anthropology at McGill University, Montréal. His work on public justice outreach includes the study of truth and reconciliation commissions, online lobbying, and human rights movements. These areas of study have involved research in a variety of forums, including the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the World Health Organization, and the Arctic Council. His books include The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Difference (2003), Public Justice and the Anthropology of Law (Cambridge, 2010), and Truth and Indignation: Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools (2013).

Maria Sapignoli (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Maria Sapignoli is a Research Fellow in the Department of Law and Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. She has done research on legal activism, indigenous rights, and social movements. These areas of study have involved work in a variety of global organizations, including the United Nations Secretariat Headquarters, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the International Labour Organization’s Training Centre. Some of her research involves San activism in southern Africa on issues related to indigenous peoples’ rights and claims to land and resources in the context of resettlement. She is the author of several articles and book chapters on indigenous peoples in southern Africa, most recently in Anthropological Forum (2015) and the Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (2016).

Contributors : Ronald Niezen, Maria Sapignoli, Marc Abélès, Niels Nagelhus Schia, Jane K. Cowan, Julie Billaud, Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, Sally Engle Merry, Robert K. Hitchcock, Tobias Berger, Noor Johnson, David Rojas, Christoph Brumann, Richard Ashby Wilson

Mark Goodale, Anthropology and Law.

Mark Goodale

Anthropology and Law. A Critical Introduction

Foreword by Sally Engle Merry

NUY Press, mai 2017

ISBN: 9781479895519


An introduction to the anthropology of law that explores the connections between law, politics, and technology. From legal responsibility for genocide to rectifying past injuries to indigenous people, the anthropology of law addresses some of the crucial ethical issues of our day. Over the past twenty-five years, anthropologists have studied how new forms of law have reshaped important questions of citizenship, biotechnology, and rights movements, among many others. Meanwhile, the rise of international law and transitional justice has posed new ethical and intellectual challenges to anthropologists. Anthropology and Law provides a comprehensive overview of the anthropology of law in the post-Cold War era. Mark Goodale introduces the central problems of the field and builds on the legacy of its intellectual history, while a foreword by Sally Engle Merry highlights the challenges of using the law to seek justice on an international scale. The book’s chapters cover a range of intersecting areas including language and law, history, regulation, indigenous rights, and gender. For a complete understanding of the consequential ways in which anthropologists have studied, interacted with, and critiqued, the ways and means of law, Anthropology and Law is required reading.

Mark Goodale is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Lausanne. Previously, he was Professor of Conflict Studies and Anthropology at George Mason University and the first Marjorie Shostak Distinguished Lecturer in Anthropology at Emory University. He is the author of Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights (Stanford UP, 2009) and Dilemmas of Modernity: Bolivian Encounters with Law and Liberalism (Stanford UP, 2008) and the editor or coeditor of eleven other volumes on anthropology, human rights, legal pluralism, justice, Latin American politics and society, and methodology. The founding Series Editor of Stanford Studies in Human Rights, he is currently writing a book about revolution, ideology, and law in Bolivia based on several years of ethnographic research funded by the US National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Comparative Law and Anthropology

Comparative Law and Anthropology
Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series

Edited by James A.R. Nafziger, Thomas B. Stoel Professor of Law and Director of International Programs, Willamette University College of Law, US

This cutting-edge Research Handbook, at the intersection of comparative law and anthropology, explores mutually enriching insights and outlooks. The 20 contributors, including several of the most eminent scholars, as well as new voices, offer diverse expertise, national backgrounds and professional experience. Their overall approach is  »ground up » without regard to unified paradigms of research or objects of study.

Through a pluralistic definition of law and multidisciplinary approaches, Comparative Law and Anthropology significantly advances both theory and practice. The Research Handbook’s expansive concept of comparative law blends a traditional geographical orientation with historical and jurisprudential dimensions within a broad range of contexts of anthropological inquiry, from indigenous communities, to law schools and transitional societies. 

This comprehensive and original collection of diverse writings about anthropology and the law around the world offers an inspiring but realistic source for legal scholars, anthropologists and policy-makers.

Contributors include: U. Acharya, C. Bell, J. Blake, S. Brink, E. Darian-Smith, R. Francaviglia, M. Lazarus-Black, P. McHugh, S.F. Moore, E. Moustaira, L. Nader, J. Nafziger, M. Novakovic, R. Price, O. Ruppel, J.A. Sanchez, W. Shipley, R. Tejani, A. Telesetsky, K. Thomas

Publication Date: November 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78195 517 8

Les droits des peuples autochtones

 Irène Bellier, Leslie Cloud, Laurent Lacroix, Les droits des peuples autochtones. Des Nations unies aux sociétés locales,  L’Harmattan, Horizons autochtones, 2017

Le 13 septembre 2007, l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies adoptait la Déclaration sur les droits des peuples autochtones (DDPA), un document de haute valeur symbolique et morale destiné à réparer les situations de marginalisation et de discrimination dans lesquelles ont été plongées les sociétés et les personnes autochtones du fait de la colonisation et de la construction de l’État moderne. Cette déclaration de droit international a une portée universelle, elle étend le domaine des droits humains et reconnaît des droits collectifs à côté des droits individuels.

Mais elle ne s’applique directement dans aucun des États de la planète et l’on observe des situations très variées, marquées par l’histoire et par l’actualité, de reconnaissance, de déni, de violation des droits fondamentaux ou environnementaux. Réalisé à partir d’une étude menée sur plusieurs années aux Nations unies et dans une dizaine d’États sur quatre continents, ce livre explique ce que sont les droits consacrés par la DDPA et les interprétations auxquelles ils donnent lieu au sein des systèmes régionaux de droits de l’homme. Il situe les contextes politiques et juridiques de nombreux peuples autochtones, et ouvre la réflexion sur les conditions de mise en oeuvre de normes protectrices et ambitieuses. Si le cadre international, la méthode comparative, les collaborations interdisciplinaires conduisent à saisir le sujet sous les différentes facettes qui démontrent l’étendue de sa complexité, l’analyse proposée permet, elle, d’envisager les moyens d’avancer en termes de respect des différences culturelles et d’inclusion sociale ou économique.

Au fil de trois parties, le lecteur pourra prendre connaissance du cadre juridique international puis se plonger dans les dynamiques politiques et les situations des peuples autochtones, en Argentine, en Australie, en Bolivie, au Botswana, au Chili, en Guyane française, en Inde, au Mexique, en Nouvelle- Calédonie et en Namibie. Afin de comprendre au mieux comment les droits des peuples autochtones sont visés ou négligés dans les dispositifs étatiques, l’étude propose une lecture qui repose sur trois catégories de droits : la première est relative à l’espace politique de la gouvernance, de la participation et de la citoyenneté, la deuxième au rapport à la terre, aux territoires et aux ressources naturelles, la troisième aux droits culturels, économiques et sociaux.

Irène Bellier, Leslie Cloud et Laurent Lacroix. Avec la collaboration de : Rowena Dickins Morrison, Jennifer Hays, Verónica González, Stéphanie Guyon, Martin Préaud, Raphaël Rousseleau et Benoît Trépied.

Site de l’éditeur : L’Harmattan

Bon de commande : Bon de commande-DPA_Bellier_et_al.(1)