- Law and culture
- Urban Governance
- Social and cultural change
- Civic cultures
The research deals with the role of municipalities amidst processes of social and legal change. Within modern western states, territorial bodies al should be part of a nested structure legally bounded to uphold national interests. Demands of change are, however, a common source of tension between national and sub-national levels, either because social actors’ demands challenge an established multi-level order, or because local authorities may decide to challenge the limits to their autonomy to satisfy social claims.
The research focuses on the struggle around bullfighting in Colombia, in particular in its capital Bogotá. Bullfighting has been at the centre of intense social and legal disputes for decades in the country, as it has been legally acknowledged both as a cultural manifestation and as an expression of animal cruelty. Bogotá´s governments have had a fundamental role in the struggle since have been a space for the deliberation, expression and advocacy for non-human animal welfare while being simultaneously subjected to national legal frameworks that do not reflect such demands. The research reviews the historical role of municipal authorities in bullfighting and follows the social and legal disputes around it. Particular emphasis receives the interaction between social forces and the Constitutional Court, the interpretation and enforcement of such rulings by municipal authorities, and the bullfighting enthusiast and detractors relations to local authorities (Mayor Office and city council).
The study relies on the notion of inter-legality to analyse municipal governance practices as an alternative understanding of the relationship between nation and municipalities in terms of subsidiarity or as a mere translation from law to policy-making. Municipal governmental practices are analysed in the context of the interaction between social forces and normative sources embedded in a larger and dynamic inter-legal architecture. From this perspective, the municipal level emerges as a recalibrated map searching for social intelligibility from the bottom-up and top-down interactions amidst transnational forces, the state law, and social actors.
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Nicolás Serrano is an anthropologist with a MA in Habitat from the National University of Colombia and holds an MSc in Urban Development and International Cooperation from the Technische Universität Darmstadt and the Institute of Urbanism of Grenoble. He has extensive experience in applied research within private organizations and public institutions dedicated to the creative solution of social problems in his country of origin (Colombia).