Shifting Frames, Vanishing Resources, and Dangerous Political Opportunities: Legal Mobilization among Displaced Women in Colombia

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Lemaitre, Julieta & Kristin Bergtora Sandvik (2015) Shifting Frames, Vanishing Resources, and Dangerous Political Opportunities: Legal Mobilization among Displaced Women in Colombia, Law & Society Review 49(1): 5–38.
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​​​​​​How can we make sense of the use of legal claims and tactics under conditions of internal displacement and armed conflict? This article argues that in violent contexts mobilization frames are unstable and constantly shifting, resources tend to vanish, and political opportunities often imply considerable physical ​​danger. It is grounded on a three-year, multimethod study that followed internally displaced women's organizations as they demanded government assistance and protection in Colombia. Through detailed examples of specific cases, this article illustrates the constraints of legal mobilization in violent contexts, as well as different social movement strategies of resistance. It, thus, contributes to decentering theories of social movement uses of law that tend to be based on the legal cultures and institutions of industrialized liberal democracies, rather than on those of the Global South, and hence, tend to exclude violence.​

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