Summary and Info
Crowning a decade of innovative efforts in the historical study of law and legal phenomena in the region, Crime and Punishment in Latin America offers a collection of essays that deal with the multiple aspects of the relationship between ordinary people and the law. Building on a variety of methodological and theoretical trends—cultural history, subaltern studies, new political history, and others—the contributors share the conviction that law and legal phenomena are crucial elements in the formation and functioning of modern Latin American societies and, as such, need to be brought to the forefront of scholarly debates about the region’s past and present.While disassociating law from a strictly legalist approach, the volume showcases a number of highly original studies on topics such as the role of law in processes of state formation and social and political conflict, the resonance between legal and cultural phenomena, and the contested nature of law-enforcing discourses and practices. Treating law as an ambiguous and malleable arena of struggle, the contributors to this volume—scholars from North and Latin America who represent the new wave in legal history that has emerged in recent years-- demonstrate that law not only produces and reformulates culture, but also shapes and is shaped by larger processes of political, social, economic, and cultural change. In addition, they offer valuable insights about the ways in which legal systems and cultures in Latin America compare to those in England, Western Europe, and the United States.This volume will appeal to scholars in Latin American studies and to those interested in the social, cultural, and comparative history of law and legal phenomena.