2225  Oñati Session II - Beyond State Law: the power of Normativities and Discourse

Room: C3.01


In this session we bring together studies that deal with the erosion of State Law and/or challenge State Power as the only force able to delimit and restrict normative principles and concepts of justice and law. They then look at how non-State sources of normativities intersect, compete and push for the former’s redefinition.


Chair: Lucero Ibarra Rojas, CIDE

Lucero Ibarra Rojas | CIDE

Looking at Latin America from the Oñati IISL




This paper aims to project a view on Latin American socio-legal studies, taking the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law as a stand point. I have built a methodology to unveil the epistemic universe that has been developed in IISL publications, to understand the most relevant topics and concerns of socio-legal studies on this region.

Francesco Forzani | University of Westminster

The Living Law of Farmed Animals: a spatio-temporal analysis of animal welfare as a normative concept




This work carries on a research I conducted and issued in the form of a written dissertation in 2016 as part of my Master Degree Program at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, in Oñati, Basque Country. The research was focused on a geographically localised (a small administrative division in Northern Italy) qualitative analysis of the ways in which EU laws on the protection of welfare of farmed animals are turned into concrete practices of farming carried out mainly by farmers, vets and other experts.
My intent now would be to show how the concept of animal welfare has historically developed since when, back in the sixties, it became for the very first time a serious issue of political concern in Europe, until today, when animal welfare has been framed as a normative concept which is materially inscribed into the spatiality of farms. In this way the legal protection of farmed animals can be understood as resulting from a temporal and spatial normative movement, that of the concept of animal welfare which has today acquired a multifaceted nature in which legal, economic, scientific, ethical and political dimensions are inseparable. 
More generally the reflection on animal welfare as a normative concept shall provide a theoretical reflection on the nature of law outside courts which relies on both traditional socio-legal scholarship, such as the work of Eugen Ehrlich and its notion of the living law, and a posthuman understanding of law particularly focused on the material dimension of discursive processes.
In other words this presentation is aimed at bridging traditional socio-legal scholarship with post-modern critical legal theory, in order to provide an understanding of law beyond legal institutions that could also help to reflect on the possibility of a notion of political agency beyond the human.


The Return of Adat: An enigma of indigeneity in Indonesian Law




Indigeneity is relatively a new term in discourse about rights and resources. In the past, this term is only used for botanical works on indigenous plants. In the last few decades, indigeneity becomes one of pivotal vocabulary around the worlds, in the global north and south. Indigenous activists successfully encourage “indigenousness” into the international discourse and policy through international organizations such as International Labor Organization, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Moreover, indigeneity is pervasively used by rural communities against land dispossession, discrimination, and appropriation by external power either by the state agencies, corporations or other dominant forces in society. It is parallel with the development of civil society movement in Indonesia under Suharto Authoritarian Regime (1965-1997). Environmental and human rights activists since 1980 urge ‘Adat’ as an alternative rhetoric to land claims against the state-sponsored developmentalism projects. Literarily, the meaning of adat is custom, associated with tradition. This term is promoted by Dutch colonial legal scholars to deploy self-regulatory system and autonomy  of the native under colonial regime a century ago. However, currently the term adat and indigeneity is intertwined in Indonesian context (Tsing 2010). Through this article, I investigate the interconnection of Adat and Indigeneity in legal development in Indonesia. In doing so, I analyse the legal text as well as context and actor that affects legislative reform concerning adat/indigenous communities. I point out two main arguments. First, the formalisation of adat communities and customary land rights had shifted from the integrationist to pluralist approach. The similar pattern also occurred at the international level when ILO Convention 107 replaced by ILO Convention 169. Second, the effort of indigenous activists to create a special law on adat communities which strive to translate the concept of indigenous peoples from international context has been hampering because of the institutional sectoralism, the vagueness of social units of adat communities and customary tenure arrangement, and the lack influence of indigenous activists in the Parliament. Accordingly, this article suggests another way out by avoiding the trap of the politics of recognition.

Marília de Nardin Budó | Faculdade Meridional (IMED-Brazil)

Alexandre Marques Silveira | Faculdade Meridional (IMED-Brazil)

Movements of victims of corporations in Brazil and beyond: a struggle for truth and justice




Even if most citizens in different parts of the planet fear the individual harmful behaviors against life and property, the fact is that everybody is more likely in risk of death by hazardous corporate regular activities. This work deals with transnational corporate harms and victimization, specifically in the asbestos case, both in Global North and in Global South. The research question is: how people affected by asbestos represent the collective struggle for corporation accountability? Through qualitative non-structured interviews and participant observation, we reconstruct the discourse produced by the participants to signify their pain and their struggle. From the results of this analysis, we move forward trying to understand the possibilities and limits of this movement in the context of neoliberalism, weak institutions, and denial of politics in society. In this point, we compare the movements of victims of asbestos in three different countries: Italy (Associazione Familiari Vittime Amianto), Spain (Asociación de Victimas y Afectados por el Amianto), and Brazil (Associação Brasileira de Expostos ao Amianto). From Global North to Global South the social harms and political denials are being transported. If in the former the movements conquered some of their exigencies, but are still fighting for compensation, decontamination, and accountability; in the latter the fight is only starting. The conclusions point to the importance of these political struggles coming from grassroots movements in the local level but with the support of an international web as one of the only ways to really defy the power of transnational corporations, for memory, truth and justice.

Myrta Morales-Cruz | Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Lawyering and Social Movements:  Stories from Puerto Rico




Fifteen years ago I started the first community based advocacy clinic in Puerto Rico.  Since 2013, I have led the Citizen Education and Participation Clinic at Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law.  I have applied what I learned from Prof. Lucie E. White during my master’s in Law.  The most important contribution that Prof. White has made to my work was exposing me to Freire’s popular education theory and to how it could be used by lawyers interested in working with marginalized communities to promote empowerment of these communities.  Prof. White wrote a beautiful article in 1988 about how a black community in South Africa organized to fight a threat of displacement with the help of a lawyer and an organizer. She describes three images of lawyering:  “the contest of litigation”, “law as a public conversation” and “lawyering together toward change”.  Linking local struggles with regional and global struggles is a crucial component of the type of lawyering that she presents.  I have used Freire’s and White’s work as a guide in working with low income communities in Puerto Rico.  Most of the work that I have done relates to housing:  to helping low income communities avoid displacement.    In addition to dealing with their “substantive” and most pressing concern, which is/was avoiding displacement, I have dealt with the “procedural” issue of opening up spaces for political engagement for them.  In doing this, I have found that using popular education theory and methods to educate them about both executive and legislative lobbying has been very promising. We have used representative democracy to open spaces of participatory democracy, as De Sousa Santos would write.  They have learned how to navigate these two branches of government to shape the Law and public policy in their favor.  It has also been useful to educate them on how to use the media to shape public opinion.  They have used Law, as Prof. White writes, as part of a “public conversation” to promote social change.  These communities are, following Rancière, involved in politics: in making an “intervention in the visible and the sayable”.

Jack Meakin,   University of Glasgow

The Political and Legal Strategies of Worker-Recuperated Enterprises in Argentina








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