Accepted Papers:

The ambiguous juridical role of the teniente político in Ecuador: a legal anthropological perspective  

Author:

Marc Simon Thomas (Utrecht University)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper explores the daily practice of the teniente político in Ecuador in its juridical role – which can be seen as an example of interlegality. While formally bound to state law, often parts of local customary law are used too when local disputes are settled at the teniente político’s office.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the daily practice of the teniente político in Ecuador in its juridical role. While formally bound to state law, often parts of local customary law are used too when local disputes are settled at the teniente político’s office. From a legal anthropological perspective, this can be seen as an example of interlegality in a situation of formal legal pluralism. Starting with an historical overview of the ambiguous role of the teniente político, this paper then describes the daily routine in the parish of Zumbahua. It is shown that historically seen the teniente político always has been assigned a dual task of representing the state (both politically and juridically), and of acting the same time as protector of local and indigenous autonomy. While strategically managing the performance of its task, the teniente político gained a great deal of power. Nowadays, he has to collaborate with indigenous authorities like cabildos on the one side, and with a Junta Parroquial on the other, which effects his local power. This paper finally hypothesizes about his role in the near future, since recent legislation limits his formal role.

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Displaying recent research on Latin America and the Caribbean conducted by Nalacs members