Legal Ethnography in an Era of Globalization: The Arrival of Western Human Rights Discourse to Rural Bolivia

  • Mark Goodale


In this chapter I explore the effects of globalization on legal ethnographic fieldwork through an examination of the impact of the arrival of Western human rights discourse to rural Bolivia during the last ten years. Beginning in the late-1980s and continuing through the 1990s, several events in Bolivia coincided that would form the foundation for this development. First, there was a national debate in Bolivia during the mid-to late 1980s over the upcoming 500 years observations in 1992. This debate was accompanied by the formation of new indigenous rights groups and the strengthening of existing organizations with progressive or radical tendencies, particularly the influential labor unions. The impact of the new movement—framed now in terms of indigenous rights and largely united, something that is unusual for Bolivian social movements—was most dramatically represented by the turbulent 1990 march by indigenous rights groups from Trinidad to La Paz, an event that captivated the nation and forced a national dialogue about the marchers’ demands, which were broad in scope but centered around claims that traditional authority structures should be given legal effect at the national level, and that rural lands should be protected from the encroachment by large landowners and corporations, especially in the Bolivian Amazon.


Physical Aggression International Labor Organization Legal Institution Sexual Aggression Psychological Aggression 
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Copyright information

© June Starr and Mark Goodale 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Goodale

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