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Anthropology and Law in Latin America

Towards Transformative Collaborations?

Rachel Sieder

As a researcher working within the field of collaborative or ‘engaged’ legal and political anthropology in Latin America, law does very much shape my research agenda and that of most of my colleagues. I would also contend that anthropology does impact law throughout the region, although to a much lesser extent. This is most evident in the legalisation, judicialisation and juridification of indigenous peoples’ collective rights to autonomy and territory in recent decades. Yet, the influence of anthropology on legal adjudication in the region is not only limited to issues pertaining to indigenous peoples: engaged applied ethnographic research is playing an increasingly important role in revealing to legal practitioners and courts the effects of human rights violations in specific contexts, and victims’ perceptions of the continuums of violence to which they are subjected.