This book addresses a growing area of concern for scholars and development practitioners: discriminatory gender norms in legally plural settings. Focusing specifically on indigenous women, this book analyses how they, often in alliance with supporters and allies, have sought to improve their access to justice. Development practitioners working in the field of access to justice have tended to conceive indigenous legal systems as either inherently incompatible with women’s rights or, alternatively, they have emphasised customary law’s advantageous features, such as its greater accessibility, familiarity and effectiveness. Against this background – and based on a comparison of six thus far underexplored initiatives of legal and institutional change in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia – Anna Barrera Vivero provides a more nuanced, ethnographic, understanding of how women navigate through context-specific constellations of interlegality in their search for justice. In so doing, moreover, her account of ongoing political debates and local struggles for gender justice grounds the elaboration of a comprehensive conceptual framework for understanding the legally plural dynamics involved in the contestation of discriminatory gender norms.
1. Introduction: Indigenous women's hindered access to legally plural settings 2. Theoretical framework for processes of legal and institutional change 3. "Many women hadn't even thought about what it means to be a woman": La Calera and La Riconda, Ecuador 4. "As if I was sleeping, and then I woke up!": Chacabamba and Tungasuca, Peru 5. "Sometimes we as women undervalue ourselves": Mojocoya and Tarabuco, Bolivia 6. Comparative analysis of case studies 7. Conclusions and Implications
During the past two decades, a substantial transformation of law and legal institutions in developing and transition countries has taken place. Whether prompted by the policy prescriptions of the so-called Washington consensus, the wave of democratization, the international human rights movement or the emergence of new social movements, no area of law has been left untouched. This massive transformation is attracting the attention of legal scholars, as well as scholars from other disciplines, such as politics, economics, sociology, anthropology and history. This diversity is valuable because it promotes cross-disciplinary dialogue and cooperation. It is also important because today the study of law cannot ignore the process of globalization, which is multifaceted and thus calls for inter-disciplinary skills and perspectives. Indeed, as globalization deepens, legal institutions at the national level are influenced and shaped by rules, practices and ideas drawn, imposed or borrowed from abroad.