Petitioning and Creating Rights: Judicialization in Argentina

  • Catalina Smulovitz
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


Courts and the law are playing an increasingly important political role. Courts are redefining public policies decided by representative authorities, and citizens are using the law and rights-framed discourses as political tools to address private and social demands, as well as to govern everyday social interactions previously regulated by cooperation, trust, or kinship. This increased use of legal procedures and rights-framed discourses is taking place in various forms and in different regions and has given birth to a growing literature on the judicialization of politics.1 Analysts agree that the process involves the expansion of the domains and roles of the courts, judges, and litigants. While some studies highlight the non-democratic political impact that courts as political agencies, and judges as political actors, have on sovereign decisions; others center on the democratic implications of citizens’ increased use of the law as a petitioning tool. Still others emphasize the deleterious consequences of the judicialization of interpersonal and everyday relationships on social life (Glendon, 1991). These outcomes are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they can take place simultaneously, leading to mixed and ambiguous assessments regarding the consequences of the process of judicialization.


Sexual Harassment Pension Fund Supreme Court Legal Strategy Legal Dispute 
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© Rachel Sieder, Line Schjolden, and Alan Angell 2005

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  • Catalina Smulovitz

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