Reconsidering ‘revolution by constitution’: Law, social change, justice

Date & time
1–2pm Wednesday 4 September 2019

Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law
Canberra ACT 2600

Professor Mark Goodale


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Distinguished Visiting Mentor
Mark Goodale

Based on long-term ethnographic research on the “revolution by constitution” in contemporary Bolivia, this talk will examine the theoretical implications of the country’s turn to law as the principle mechanism of structural change and justice-seeking. Given Bolivia’s dependence on law as arguably one of the most radical laboratories for post-Cold War transformation, it offers a unique empirical vantage point for examining the outer boundaries where legal categories and discourses, social change, and historical accounts of justice meet. The talk will trace the contours of these outer boundaries with reference to a range of legal, political, and anthropological theory, including Ran Hirschl’s theory of juristocracy, Nancy Fraser’s revised theory of justice, E. P. Thompson’s obiter dicta on the “logics of law,” and John and Jean Comaroff’s discussion of “lawfare.”


  • Professor Mark Goodale »

    Mark Goodale holds a chair at the University of Lausanne, where he is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology and Director of the Laboratory of Cultural and Social Anthropology (LACS). The founding series editor of Stanford Studies in Human Rights, he is the author, editor, or coeditor of numerous books in the field, including Letters to the Contrary: A Curated History of the UNESCO Human Rights Survey (Stanford UP, 2018), Anthropology and Law (NYU Press, 2017), Human Rights at the Crossroads (Oxford UP, 2013), Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights (Stanford UP, 2009), and The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local (Cambridge UP, 2007). He has published dozens of journal articles and book chapters on law and society and human rights and his work has also appeared in more general outlets such as The Paris Review and Boston Review.

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