Hughes, Carys (2017) A-Legal space as a political strategy : an analysis of constitutive power and democracy based on case studies from Latin America. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This project develops a theory of a-legal space as a political strategy. A-legal space refers to the space created by initiatives which assume a quasi-legal or quasi-institutional form without any official basis, or where they exceed their recognized institutional basis. Examples include peoples’ tribunals such as the World Tribunal on Iraq, in which the US and UK governments were tried for war crimes in Iraq; the Aboriginal Tent Embassy where aboriginal activists protesting for land rights erected tents outside the Australian Parliament and declared it an embassy; and unauthorized referenda such as the first Catalan independence referendum in 2009. The use of a-legal space is an under-studied and un-theorised tactic employed with increasing regularity by social movement, civil society, and sometimes, state and sub-state actors.
The project explores several case studies from Latin America including the Bolivian based International Tribunal on Climate Justice; an unofficial recall referendum on Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992; an unauthorized ballot organized by the Colombian student movement in which two million people participated and led to the creation of Colombia’s Constituent Assembly; and Honduran President Zelaya’s planned non-binding poll in 2009 which led to his removal in a coup. It is argued that the use of a-legal space is a discursive strategy whereby actors imagine, legitimate and being to institutionalize a counter-hegemonic order. Specifically, a-legal initiatives have the potential to create ‘tipping events’ which shift the political grammar and open up new political possibilities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: a-legal space; a-legal initiatives; a-legality; tipping events; political grammar; constitutive power; Latin America; new Latin American constitutionalism; radical democracy.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Contributors: Doherty, Brian (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2017 11:27
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 12:10

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