Research of different desiguALdades.net members has been devoted to the transnational articulations between law, identity and space. These studies have demonstrated that certain changes in transnational and international laws, initiatives of international organizations, and the resulting reforms of domestic legislation in Latin America have shifted the possibilities for mobilizations on behalf of social justice at the national level. Particularly, invoking ethnicity enables different groups to appeal to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169, which recognizes the rights of collective ownership and possession of tribal and indigenous peoples over the lands which they traditionally occupy and the right to prior consultation. This convention supports the deployment of cultural difference as the primary means in struggles concerning land (expulsions, land grabbing, land concentration, etc.) and against investment projects in agribusiness, mining, oil, dams, roads, etc. As a result, concerned groups (re)define themselves in the context of transnational interdependent processes of negotiating redistributions of resources, rights and power, creating novel conceptual and theoretical imperatives to understand the diverse impact of established international legal standards in terms of reinforcing or diminishing existing inequalities.
This focal study takes a closer look at Brazil and Colombia to analyze the operation of domestic and international law as well as the dominant legal discourse in shaping ethnicity and collective rights. It will be conducted in cooperation with Focal Study 4 and Focal Study 5, and contribute to all three clusters.
Researcher: Manuel Góngora-Mera