Seminário Beyond Vernacularization: Mobilizing and Translating ‘Women’s Human Rights’ Grammars in Multiple Directions

Beyond Vernacularization: Mobilizing and Translating ‘Women’s Human Rights’ Grammars in Multiple Directions
Cecília MacDowell Santos (CES)

12 de janeiro de 2016, 15h00, Sala 1, CES-Coimbra


This paper presentation draws on research that I have conducted on transnational legal mobilization and women’s human rights in Brazil. This research is part of the ALICE project, coordinated by Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos at CES. Based on cases of women’s rights violations presented against the State of Brazil by ‘victims’ as well as human rights and feminist NGOs to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), this paper addresses the strategies and types of knowledge formulated, exchanged/translated and negotiated by the petitioners. Beyond Sally Engle Merry’s unidirectional approach to the travelling of ‘women’s human rights’ ideas as “vernacularization,” or a process of adopting presumably ‘global’ human rights ideas into ‘local’ cultures, this paper shows that transnational legal mobilization of women’s human rights involves multidirectional practices of translating and negotiating ecologies of human rights grammars and unequal knowledge-power relations.International and domestic human rights NGOs that specialize in transnational litigation, feminist advocacy NGOs, grassroots feminist NGOs and ‘victims’ alike engage in transnational legal mobilization and exchange different types of knowledge. However, the work of translating their knowledge through transnational legal mobilization can both build and break solidarity. Although the legalistic view on human rights held by the more professionalized NGOs tends to prevail over other perspectives, it is important to recognize the ecologies of women’s human rights grammars, without undermining the agency and activist practices-knowledges of grassroots organizations and ‘victims’ of women’s human rights violations.
Nota biográficaces

Cecília MacDowell Santos

More Information here
Atividade no âmbito dos Programas de Doutoramento Human Rights in Contemporary Societies e Pós-Colonialismos e Cidadania Global


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