Enhancing access to women's rights in legally plural development contexts: how the structure of legal pluralism interplays with gendered pathways of dispute processing

01 October 2014 → 31 December 2018
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Law
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Public health care
    • Public health sciences
    • Public health services
pluralism gender
Project description

The proposed research examines the relationship between:
a) the structure of legal pluralism in development contexts, i.e. the different ways in which multiple justice providers articulate with each other in settings where state justice is not the main avenue of dispute processing but co-exists with other legal orders, such as indigenous, customary, religious, etc.
b) how such forms of interaction (e.g. cooperation, mutual ignorance, competition, criminalization, etc.) affect women’s pathways of dispute processing and their access to human rights.
The goal of the research is twofold. At the empirical level, it identifies, documents and analyses: i) the factors leading to such forms of articulation, ii) how women cope with them, and iii) the opportunities and barriers that arise as a result of these structures in terms of access to women's rights. At the normative level, it assesses how these lived realities can inform policy, legislation and development initiatives in the field of legal pluralism and women’s rights.
For this purpose, the study combines a systematic desk review of socio-legal literature, policy documents and legislation with legal analysis and legal anthropological qualitative research methods applied to a number of selected case studies, including the ‘extended case’ method (i.e. tracing relevant cases), observation of dispute processing, analysis of case records, semistructured interviews and focus group discussions with several stakeholders.