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Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability

English title Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability
Applicant Eckert Julia
Number 169438
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Sozialanthropologie Philosophisch-historische Fakultät Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ethnology
Start/End 01.11.2016 - 28.02.2021
Approved amount 434'128.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ethnology
Sociology

Keywords (5)

Multinational corporations; liability; social movements; cause lawyering/strategic litigation; responsibility

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die rechtliche Verantwortung von transnationalen Unternehmen stellt in Fällen von Menschenrechtsverletzungen und Umweltverschmutzung global eine politische wie auch juristische Herausforderung dar. Soziale Bewegungen, Nichtregierungsorganisationen und internationale Anwaltskollektive verfolgen zunehmend das Ziel, durch strategische Prozessführungen und die Nutzung von nationalem Recht fehlbare Unternehmen haftbar zu machen.
Lay summary

Das Projekt untersucht einerseits die Arbeit von europäischen Anwaltsnetzwerken, welche die rechtliche Verantwortung von transnationalen Unternehmen in den Heimatländern Grossbritannien und Deutschland herzustellen versuchen. Andererseits analysiert das Projekt das rechtliche Vorgehen von sozialen Bewegungen in Peru gegen die vor Ort tätigen Tochterfirmen der transnationalen Unternehmen. Im Fokus stehen in beiden Fällen jene transnationalen Netzwerke, welche die AktivistInnen des Südens mit den Anwaltskollektiven des Nordens verbinden. Die wechselseitigen Beziehungen zwischen den diversen AkteurInnen sind dabei von besonderem Interesse.

Es wird untersucht, wie Protestbewegungen und Anwaltskanzleien durch die Einbringungen von Diskursen über Menschenrechte und soziale Gerechtigkeit in einzelnen Gerichtsfällen einen politischen und sozialen Wandel auf lokaler Ebene zu bewirken versuchen. Übergeordnetes Ziel des Projektes ist demnach zu erforschen, ob die strategische Anwendung von nationalem Recht sowohl auf rechtlicher wie auch auf sozialer Ebene zu einem normativen Wandel führt.

Aufgrund seines ethnographischen Ansatzes leistet das Projekt einen Beitrag zur Erforschung der sozialen Prozesse, welche hinter den Kulissen der Gerichtsfälle gegen transnationale Unternehmen stattfinden. Das Projekt trägt damit zum Verständnis der sozialen Praktiken und politischen Auseinandersetzungen im Zusammenhang mit der Anwendung von nationalen Gesetzgebungen bei.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 04.10.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Legal responsibility in an entangled world
Eckert Julia, KnöpfelLaura (2020), Legal responsibility in an entangled world, in Journal of Legal AnthropologyJournal of Legal Anthropology, 4(2), 1-16.
The Responsibility to Prevent Future Harm: Anti-Mining Struggles, the State, and Constitutional Lawsuits in Ecuador
Affolter Laura (2020), The Responsibility to Prevent Future Harm: Anti-Mining Struggles, the State, and Constitutional Lawsuits in Ecuador, in Journal of Legal Anthropology, 4(2), 78-99.
Transnational Human Rights Litigation: A Means of Obtaining Effective Remedy Abroad?
Lindt Angela (2020), Transnational Human Rights Litigation: A Means of Obtaining Effective Remedy Abroad?, in Journal of Legal Anthropology, 4(2), 57-77.
Norm Creation beyond the State
Dann Philipp, Eckert Julia (2020), Norm Creation beyond the State, in Goodale Mark, Foblets Marie-Claire, Zenker Olaf, Sapignoli Maria (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Beihilfe – mittelbare Verantwortung in einer verflochtenen Welt
EckertJulia (2020), Beihilfe – mittelbare Verantwortung in einer verflochtenen Welt, in Seibert-Fohr Anja (ed.), Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 73-89.
Mit Recht zu Gerechtigkeit: Rechtsmobilisierung in Perus Bergbaukonflikten
LindtAngela (2019), Mit Recht zu Gerechtigkeit: Rechtsmobilisierung in Perus Bergbaukonflikten, in TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association, 24, 99-104.
The morals of liability: some thoughts on “Humanitarians in court”
Eckert Julia (2019), The morals of liability: some thoughts on “Humanitarians in court”, in The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 50(3), 375-378.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Martha-Cecilia Dietrich, University of Amsterdam Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Anne Lavanchy, Haute école de travail social Genève Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
William Sacher, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar Ecuador (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Nico Krisch, Graduate Institute Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Sergio Miguel Huarcaya, Universidad del Pacífico, Lima Peru (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Philipp Dann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Laura Dominique Knöpfel, London School of Economics and Political Science Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Carlos Alberto Quispe Dávila, Universidad del Pacífico, Lima Peru (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Johannes M. Waldmüller, FLACSO Ecuador (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Ellen Hertz, Université de Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Andreas Gutmann, Universität Bremen Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Stuart Kirsch, University of Michigan United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, Universität Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Multiple Legalities: Conflict and Entanglement in the Global Legal Order Talk given at a conference Denial, Singularisation, and Coherence: Navigating Multiplicity 13.01.2021 online, Germany Eckert Julia;
Civil Society and the Law: Civil Disobedience, Protests and the (Re)writing of Environmental Politics Talk given at a conference Challenging State Politics: The Mobilisation of Nature’s Rights in Constitutional Lawsuits against Mining 12.11.2020 Lausanne, Switzerland Affolter Laura;
Institutskolloquium, Institut für Sozialanthropologie Luzern Individual talk Using the Constitution against the State: Legal Struggles against Mining in Ecuador 11.12.2019 Luzern, Switzerland Affolter Laura;
Institutskolloquium, Institut für Sozialanthropologie Individual talk Judicialization of Peru’s Mining Conflicts: Between Human Rights Litigation and Criminalization of Protest 03.12.2019 Bern, Switzerland Lindt Angela;
Bergen Exchanges 2019 Talk given at a conference Roundtable Discussion: Indigenous Lawfare 19.08.2019 Bergen, Norway Lindt Angela;
Forum GSH "Hands-on Research" Poster Corporate Liability from Below: Struggles for Rights, Justice and Responsibility in the Context of Transnational Mining Projects in Peru 22.05.2019 Bern, Switzerland Lindt Angela;
„Sorgfalt oder Pflicht(erfullung)?“: Interdisziplinärer Workshop zur Sorgfaltsprufungspflicht Talk given at a conference Transnationale Zivilklagen aus der Perspektive von sozialen Bewegungen des Globalen Südens 08.05.2019 Bern, Switzerland Lindt Angela;
„Sorgfalt oder Pflicht(erfullung)?“: Interdisziplinärer Workshop zur Sorgfaltsprufungspflicht Talk given at a conference "Sorgfalt" als Pflicht des Staates: Verfassungsklagen in Ecuador 08.05.2019 Bern, Switzerland Affolter Laura;
Institutskolloquium. Institut für Sozialanthropologie, Universität Bern Individual talk Narrative der kausalen Verantwortung 20.11.2018 Bern, Switzerland Eckert Julia; Affolter Laura; Lindt Angela;
Abschaffung des Rechts? Vierter Kongress der deutschsprachigen Rechtssoziologie-Vereinigungen Talk given at a conference Rechtsmobilisierung und Verantwortung transnationaler Unternehmen: Der Fall Máxima Acuña de Chaupe vs. Minera Yanacocha S.R.L 13.09.2018 Basel, Switzerland Lindt Angela;
European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) biennial conference Talk given at a conference Environmental Damages, Transnational Corporations and Legal Responsibility in Peru's Mining Regions 14.08.2018 Stockholm, Sweden Lindt Angela;
XXXVI International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association Talk given at a conference Litigio estratégico en el Perú: Usar la ley en el contexto de proyectos mineros transnacionales 23.05.2018 Barcelona, Spain Lindt Angela;
Entgrenzte Verantwortung Talk given at a conference Beihilfe - mittelbare Verantwortung in einer verflochtenen Welt 03.05.2018 Heidelberg, Germany Eckert Julia;
Swiss Anthropological Association (SAA) Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Strategic Litigation in Peruvian Mining Conflicts: On the Possibilities of Using the National Legislation to Sue Transnational Corporations 09.11.2017 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Lindt Angela;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Tour de Lorraine: Workshop "Globale Geschäfte - globale Verantwortung" Workshop 18.01.2020 Bern, Switzerland Lindt Angela;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Globale Geschäfte - globale Verantwortung German-speaking Switzerland 2020

Abstract

1.SummaryNegative impacts on the environment and on the livelihood of local populations caused by transnational corporations (TNCs) operating in the so-called Global South have become a politically contested issue. Holding the companies involved or their employees legally liable has often been difficult because of jurisdictional or governance obstacles. Regardless the difficult legal situation, there are worldwide growing attempts to bring TNCs to court for violations of human rights or for serious environmental damages. By referring to a transnational discourse of human rights and by using international narratives of law and justice, local protest groups make use of law as an instrument to legitimize their claims and to gain international support for their struggles. In most of the court cases social movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and transnational networks of human rights lawyers play a major role. These networks often include not only European cause lawyers and the concerned plaintiffs in the operation area of the defendant TNC, but also link plaintiff groups, local NGOs and lawyers of independent court cases in different countries. A considerable gap in research exists concerning how advocacy organisations and local plaintiffs influence each other with respect to normative evaluation, political goals and litigation strategies. The project “Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability” enquires into these changes, examining the normative change born from these litigation processes both among local plaintiffs and in the legal norms adopted to litigate against TNCs. Our project assumes that lawsuits and the practices of “case-making” are social processes that, on the one hand, reflect existing power relations between actors involved, but, on the other hand, provide space for negotiations about norms, interpretations and goals. By conducting empirical ethnographic research on the work of lawyers and human rights activists in different settings and places, the overarching aim of the project is to find out whether the strategic application of national law leads to normative - legal as well as social - change. We content that by a) enquiring into the evolving strategies of local plaintiffs using national laws against TNCs, b) the strategic litigation of cause lawyering by transnational legal NGOs, and c) the relationships between these different actors involved in the court cases we can gain insights into the normative changes occurring at these different levels. We will analyse the practice of strategic litigation applied by cause lawyers in Germany and the United Kingdom (subproject A) as well as by social movements and local NGOs in Peru (subproject B). We investigate how local protest movements and international law firms introduce transnational discourses of human rights and social justice into individual national court cases with the intent to enforce social and political change on the local level. By studying these transnational human rights networks in the field of corporate liability, the project deals with a key issue of contemporary social anthropology.
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