Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
César A. Rodríguez-Garavito
Alternative law is a school of legal thought and action that advances the use of law for social transformation. Originated in continental Europe and Latin America in the 1970s, it established itself as one of the leading theoretical and practical loci of criticism of legal positivism in those regions. Given its focus on the links among law, politics, and social context, it has spurred a wide range of scholarly studies and public debates inspired by a sociolegal approach. Theoretical production and political engagement intertwine in the history of the alternative law movement. Its theoretical tenets stem from a combination of antiformalist and neo-Marxist thought. Based on an eclectic reading of a range of antiformalist theories—from European free law and interest jurisprudence schools to U.S. sociological jurisprudence and legal realism—its proponents argue, against legal positivists, that law is neither politically neutral nor unequivocal. Instead, rules are open to competing interpretations rooted ...