Charla con Cafe: 'Soft Law, From Regulation to "Repertoires of Contention" in South America'
This lecture is part of the Center for Latin American Studies' Charlas con Cafe lecture series. Its presenter is Marie-Esther Lacuisse, a postdoc at the Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur les Amériques in France.
From the late 1980s, trade liberalization and the neoliberal state policies supported by the Washington consensus led to the privatization of development projects in Latin America and an increase of foreign companies investments, particularly in the mining and hydroelectric power sectors, which go hand in hand. In front of this new industrial order, many socio-environmental conflicts have broken out in various Latin American countries; rural populations have begun to renew their "repertoire of contention" by using international and transnational levers to try to defend their rights such as the participative spaces of international organizations but also by mobilizing the transnational environmental standards that frame the activities of neoliberal economy. Based on case studies in Latin America where individuals or groups have used environmental standards of multilateral development banks as support of mobilization, the purpose of this presentation is questioning the way in which transnational and environmental standards can interact on or with the framing of local conflicts. While the norms and standards that govern production are most often analyzed from a top-down regulative perspective, Lacuisse will underline the interest to question its social uses in the perspective of "socio-legal studies."