This talk will examine the confluence of law, ideology, and social change based on a long-term ethnographic study of Bolivia (2006-2016), in which the various forms and discourses of law were mobilized in innovative yet often contradictory ways by a self-proclaimed revolutionary state. In doing so, the talk will develop the concept of “strategic juridification” to explain the ways in which the Bolivian government harnessed the power of law as an essential framework for consolidating political legitimacy and managing the symbolic terms of public debate. In general, the study of law in the post-2006 period in Bolivia reveals it to be an imperfect tool at best for shaping change, one whose “logic,” as E. P. Thompson described it, imposes limitations on those who would appropriate law to both advance elite class interests and seek to subvert or “decolonize” these same interests.
About the Speaker:
Mark Goodale is a chair professor of cultural and social anthropology and director of the Laboratory of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Lausanne. He is the founding series editor of the Stanford Studies in Human Rights at Stanford University Press, and the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books, including A Revolution in Fragments: Traversing Scales of Justice, Ideology, and Practice in Bolivia (Duke UP, 2019), The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke UP, 2018), Letters to the Contrary: A Curated History of the UNESCO Human Rights Survey (Stanford UP, 2018), and Anthropology and Law (NYU Press, 2017).