CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Dr. Daniel Bonilla Discusses "The Political Economy of Legal Knowledge."

The Payson Center for International Development and the Center for Inter-American Policy were proud to host Dr. Daniel Bonilla Maldonado, Faculty of Law at the University of the Andes in Bogota, Columbia, for a discussion about ‘€œThe Political Economy of Legal Knowledge.‘€

Dr. Bonilla, constitutional law scholar and author of several books, including Constitutionalism of the Global South (Cambridge University Press, 2013), presented an impressive body of research about the way that legal knowledge is generated, legitimized, and disseminated. Dr. Bonilla begins from the premise that legal knowledge is subject to a particular political economy‘€“one that governs and channels the way that it is created and consumed.

Dr. Bonilla‘€™s research is guided by two main objectives. First, he seeks to analyze a political economy model, termed the ‘€œfree market of legal ideas,‘€ which dominates our collective perception of the way that legal knowledge is created and distributed. This model is defined by rational actors generating and adapting existing legal knowledge to suit a particular time and place.

His second objective is to juxtapose this model with the ‘€œcolonial model of legal ideas,‘€ which he argues more accurately characterizes the political economy of legal knowledge. In the colonial model, as Dr. Bonilla argues, the Global North creates and exports legal knowledge and theory to the Global South. Any legal knowledge generated by the Global South, meanwhile, exists only on the fringes of global legal discourse. In this model, legal knowledge is subject to the same power dynamics that have long defined the global political economy. Legal knowledge‘€“like political, economic, military, and cultural power‘€“is a product of the Global North. The Global South receives this knowledge and applies it to its own social and political context, in an effort to emulate the Global North. To support his claims, Dr. Bonilla cites the influence of Roe v. Wade in the Global South and the relative lack of understanding of similarly important court cases that have taken place within the Global South.

Dr. Bonilla‘€™s research sheds light on the way these two models interact, the way that the perception of the free market of legal ideas shelters the reality of the colonial model, and the way this dynamic affects the global market for legal knowledge.


All Events

Upcoming Events

Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

View Full Event Description

Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.