Legal Technicalities In Conditions Of Political Conflict: The Case Of Land Tenure Disputes In Colombia
While most legal analysis pertaining to land ownership by rural communities focuses on socio-political disputes between rural communities and elites who use the legal system to consolidate their power, this dissertation suggests that a closer look at the technicalities found in law reveals a more complex and interesting dynamic between actors and the use, circulation and understanding of law. Traditionally, the view in socio-legal studies conceives legal technicalities as distant from ordinary people's experiences of their lives and rights. The findings in this ethnographic study, however, demonstrate that these technical aspects of law are key in framing and mobilizing the dispute over land ownership. It is through working with these legal technicalities, the mundane tasks of filling out required forms, issuing signatures, or verifying internal procedures and technical standards for the distribution of social benefits, that bureaucrats direct their work, interpret what they are doing, and obtain new knowledge about law and institutional proceedings. Furthermore, as this research shows, not only bureaucrats are concerned with legal technicalities, campesinos also emulate technical legal documents and arguments in their dealings with the State and with one another. Overall this dissertation by focusing on legal technicalities pushes towards a revision of the preconceived gap between law on the books and law in action that has characterized the debate in both, socio-legal scholarship and socio-economic analysis pertaining to land ownership in Colombia.
Property; Legal Knowledge; Colombia
Penalver, Eduardo Moises; Lasser, Mitchel
Doctor of Science of Law
dissertation or thesis