Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2020
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Translating Indigenous Rights: A Multi-level Analysis of Peru's Prior Consultation Law

Prior consultation policies—which mandate that indigenous communities affected by a proposed new law or project are consulted before the activity begins—have proliferated in recent years across many sectors and locations, but can be traced back to international indigenous rights law. This research examines how international indigenous rights laws get strategically transformed or "translated" from the international legal sphere to differing political contexts, using a multi-level and multi-sited case study of Peru's 2011 prior consultation law for indigenous peoples. This research examines the strategies and spaces used by various actors (indigenous groups, businesses, NGOs, and government agencies) to shape policy meaning, practice, and outcomes according to their interests. Policy analyses, archival research, and ethnographic methods will be used to trace how the policy has been translated in writing and in practice, from the international, to the national, to the subnational levels during nine months of fieldwork, split between Lima and a multi-sited ethnography of policy implementation of consultations in the Andes, Amazon, and coastal regions of Peru. Building on anthropological and legal studies of indigenous rights, this research applies a "policy translation" framework to indigenous rights law, bringing a new theoretical and methodological approach to examine this body of law. This research is compelling due to the pervasiveness of prior consultation policies and the growing relevance of international laws, which are often relied upon for solving large-scale social and ecological challenges, but where a variety of barriers may limit their impacts.