Social Movements, Law and the Politics of Land Reform

Lessons from Brazil

By George Meszaros

© 2013 – Routledge-Cavendish

200 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415827201
pub: 2015-01-07
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Hardback: 9780415477710
pub: 2013-04-18
US Dollars$145.00
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About the Book

Social Movements, Law and the Politics of Land Reform investigates how rural social movements are struggling for land reform against the background of ambitious but unfulfilled constitutional promises evident in much of the developing world.

Taking Brazil as an example, it unpicks the complex reasons behind the remarkably consistent failures of its constitution and law enforcement mechanisms to deliver social justice. Using detailed empirical evidence and focusing upon the relationship between rural social struggles and the state, the book develops a threefold argument: first, the inescapable presence of power relations in all aspects of the production and reproduction of law; secondly their dominant impact on socio-legal outcomes; and finally the essential and positive role played by social movements in redressing those power imbalances and realising law’s progressive potentialities.

Reviews

"This is a superb analysis of the challenges facing land reform in Brazil. Its unique contribution is to describe the relationship between the landless movement MST and the State, and to explain the challenges faced by prosecutors, judges and administrative lawyers in advancing land reform. It is a major contribution to the law and society literature, showing how a social movement can shape legal reform."

Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter 1:Shocking the System: Social Movement Pressure as the Catalyst of Political and Legal Change; Chapter 2:To Criminalise or not to Criminalise? Conflicting Legal Responses to Social Movement Pressure; Chapter 3:Why Law Fails: the Administration of Land Law in the Context of Power Relations; Chapter 4: The Limits of Progressive State Action; Chapter 5: Pushing and Redefining Legal Boundaries through Social Movement Pressure

About the Author

George Meszaros is Associate Professor at the University of Warwick

About the Series

Law, Development and Globalization

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.

This book series provides a platform for scholars and development practitioners concerned with the nature, scope and impact of the legal changes taking place in developing and transition countries. Proposals for monographs or edited collections are invited in the following areas:

- Theoretical studies that consider issues such as the relationship between law and social change, law and political institutions, the linkages between domestic and international legal regimes and the rights approach to development
- Case studies on topics such as access to justice, land law, legal pluralism, legal systems and institutions, social movements, participation and constitutionalism, corporate social responsibility, international standards and domestic laws, trade and investment and gender and equal opportunity law
- Policy studies that provide practical information and analysis about the design, implementation and evaluation of projects aimed at transforming legal institutions.

To discuss or propose an idea for a book, please contact:
Professor Julio Faundez
e-mail j.faundez@warwick.ac.uk Tel. + 44 (0) 2476 523119.
School of Law, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW000000
LAW / General