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Sie befinden sich hier: Forschung Forschung nach Projekten Forschungsgruppen Communities of Practice and the Transnational Production of Human Rights Knowledge in Latin America

Communities of Practice and the Transnational Production of Human Rights Knowledge in Latin America

The Max Planck Law Fellow Group is headed by  René Urueña  and brings together researchers from the MPIL and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory under the direction of  Armin von Bogdandy and Thomas Duve

Framework of the Project

The Group uses the notion of “communities of practice” to advance the understanding of the role of human rights in the construction of the Ibero-American legal space, both as a matter of its historical development and of contemporary practices.

For all its importance, the role of human rights in Latin America is characterized by three assumptions: First, that human rights are important because they are legally binding norms that should be complied with. Second, that there is a centralized system of ascertaining the meaning of such norms, with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as the pivotal institution creating meaning that is then adopted by other peripheral actors and institutions. And, third, that this distinctively legal process occurs in isolation of the wider intellectual context in Latin America, affected by neither a regional history of colonialism and imperialism, nor by more contemporary regional thinking in economics and philosophy.

By foregrounding the notion of “Communities of Practice”, the Group interrogates these three premises, to create a more nuanced understanding of how law in general, and human rights law in particular, functions in a region such as Latin America.

Intensive Schools, Workshops, and Other Initiatives of the Max Planck Law Fellow Group

The Group has fostered a vibrant collaborative network of Latin American scholars, judges, civil servants, and activists, in a shared effort to advance our understanding of the role Communities of Practice have in the development and impact of the common law of human rights in the region. Some of the workshops and initiatives developed are the following:

Intensive Winter Schools

The Group has organized two Intensive Winter Schools: “Human Rights, Expert Knowledge and Communities of Practice”, held in December 2022, and “Visions of the Future: Communities of Practice and Transformative Constitutionalism in Latina America”, an incubator of projects held in December 2023. These schools, which seek to create a Spanish-speaking space of interaction, learning, and mentoring for young Latin American jurists and activists, brought together 40 participants and about 18 faculty (lecturers, tutors, and facilitators), in a three-days event. Participants were selected through an open call that brought more than 250 applications for each installment.

 The 2022 Winter School, "Human Rights, Expert Knowledge and Communities of Practice”, brought together more than 40 young academics, activists, public servants, and other participants for three days of intense discussions

The Winter Schools feature keynote lectures and scholarly discussion, complemented by a “writing school” where more senior scholars discuss the participants’ drafts; a “skills schools” focused on nurturing practical abilities such as grant-writing and talking about one’s project to the media; a “methods seminar” where seminal methodological readings are discussed in smaller groups led by a young post-doc and, finally, “Meet to Inspire” sessions, where participants meet in an informal setting a pathbreaking activist, whose life work has been an inspiration for the human rights community in the region.

Grupo de personas posando por un foto
Descripción generada automáticamenteThe 2023 Projects Incubator “Visions of the Future: Communities of Practice and Transformative Constitutionalism in Latina America”, sought to enhance the research projects of early-career scholars and practitioners from Latin America. The “Meet to Inspire” guest was Helen Mack (front center, in burgundy sweater), who became a human rights advocate after her sister, Myrna, was assassinated by the Guatemalan military in 1990. Helen pursued ground-breaking advocacy and the Guatemalan government eventually acknowledged responsibility in 2004


- Workshop “Resistances in Central America: Human Rights Strategies”

The Workshop was held in November 2023 and focused on democratic resistance from and in Central America, with a special interest in discussing the human rights strategies. The event sought to situate the challenges of democracy in the region, identify and differentiate resistance strategies at the intersection of political opposition and legal mobilization, and think about future questions and scenarios. The Workshop gathered almost 15 participants from Latin America and Europe (among activist, scholars, former judges and other civil servants, as well as jurists and political scientists), who in a two-days intensively thoughtful environment presented and discussed different angles the cases of resistance and its contextual configuration, from the human rights perspective and focusing on Latin American communities of practice.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​