Open talks about social movements in Brazil and encounters between different legal cultures

24 Jan 2018

The Institute has organized two interesting talks about socio-legal topics, by the scholars Fiammetta Bonfigli (Universidade La Salle, Canoas, Brazil) and Tomas Ledvinka (University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic). The first talk will take place on 25 January, at 02:00 pm, and the second, on 1 February, at 05:00 pm. Both presentations will be at the Antia palace.

The Porto Alegre protests

By Editorial J from Porto Alegre, Brasil (Marcha das Vadias 2015) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsFiammetta Bonfigli will address the topic of Social Movements and the law in Brazil. The case of the 2013 protests in Porto Alegre. In 2013 several cities in Brazil were the theatre of mass protests against the increasing bus fares. The protests became known as the June days and were questioning various aspects of Brazilian social and political life: inequality, race, right to the city inside the context of the World Cup and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games. Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, is at the core of this field study on social movements and the law. With 30 semi-structured interviews to the participants of the Bloco de Luta political organization and the legal team that was supporting and helping the protesters, the aim is to understand the reasons and motivations of the participants and the peculiarities that differ the protests in Porto Alegre from the ones in other cities like San Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. How the law has been used as a tool by the protesters? Which are the possible connections with other movements around the world like the 15M in Spain and Occupy Wall Street in the United States?

Fiammetta Bonfigli is a post-doc scholarship recipient at the Universidade La Salle in Canoas, Brazil. She received a doctoral degree in Sociology of Law at the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) and a Master degree in Sociology of Law at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati. Her works deal with Social Movements and the Law, Penal Abolitionism, Surveillance Studies and Post-dictatorship societies.

Recognizing 'legal otherness'

Refugees at the Vienna train station. By Bwag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsTomas Ledvinka will give a presentation on the topic Law based on reciprocity: How can we recognize legal otherness in terms of modernity? Along with what belongings they can carry, migrants and refugees bring their laws, cultures and contextually specific experiences with them to their host countries. As a result, the increased mobility of persons and their social and legal relationships represents a specific context for encounters between legal cultures, which, apart from the interactions between different ways of legal thinking, also elucidates the representations of law as culture in the Western legal framework. Various migrants' identities include law as a dimension that belongs to their specific collectives (tribes, religious communities) beneath, beside and beyond the nation-state, rather than to the State. Do host countries' authorities have cognitive capacity to handle such legal otherness which unsettles their notion of the Law/State? Can the debate about reciprocity in the anthropology of law contribute anyhow to this complicated cognitive task?

Tomas Ledvinka is a Resident Grant recipient at the Institute from 12 January until 4 February. His postdoctoral research in legal anthropology is based at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University, Prague, and focuses on negotiating legal otherness like multiple legal systems from post-war Afghanistan in asylum and international civil trials in Europe. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Charles University, where he has also taught anthropology of law at the Faculty of Humanities since 2011. As assistent professor, he teaches law at the University of Hradec Králové nowadays. Before fully converting to the academia, Tomas was an expert consultant for the Czech Ministry of Justice, where he analyzed foreign law issues with a special focus on non-European legal systems. He was also a guest researcher in the Department of Law & Anthropology of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in 2016.