Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2011

Publication Citation

18 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 263 (2011)


This article explores law's protagonism and effects in contemporary conflicts over development, natural resource extraction, and indigenous peoples' rights. It focuses on the sociolegal site where these conflicts have been most visible and acute: consultations with indigenous peoples prior to the undertaking of economic projects that affect them. I argue that legal disputes over prior consultation are part of a broader process of juridification of ethnic claims, which I call "ethnicity.gov." I examine the plurality of public and private regulations involved in this process and trace their affinity with the procedural logic of neoliberal global governance. I further argue that ethnicity.gov is a highly contested field, as shown by the legal strategies and regulatory frameworks on consultation, which the global indigenous rights -movement has advanced in opposition to neoliberalism. Drawing on empirical research in Colombia and other Latin American countries, I study consultation in action and document its ambiguous effects on indigenous peoples' rights.

Human Rights and Legal Systems Across the Global South, Symposium, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana. 9-10 April 2010.