Human Rights and Legal Systems Across the Global South

Christiana Ochoa & Shane Greene
Charles L. Whistler Faculty Fellow & Professor of Anthropology
Maurer School of Law, Indiana University

The “Global South” is the imagined and real geographic space from which the contributions to this issue of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies draw their inspiration and information. The Global South includes nations in Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia, comprising more than 150 of the world’s 184 recognized countries.’ This fact alone would suggest that there should be almost no conference, symposium, or conversation about world affairs that is not dominated considerations of the Global South. However, this is not the case. The Global South, even in a restrictive geographic sense, remains in the bulk of these discussions as peripheral rather than central, and reactive rather than protagonistic. By some accounts, the Global South is the successor to the Third World. However, the Third World may have been more appropriately geographically confined to countries south of the equator than the imaginary, nominally geographic Global South seems to be. Rather than actually being confined to the countries south of the equator, the concept of the Global South has emerged from the contemporary iteration of economic globalization and its effects on subaltern communities, wherever they may be located. These effects bespeak disaffected communities, as they are carted forth, robed in a multitude of undesirable characteristics: “political, social, and economic upheaval . . . poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger and disease.” Notably each of these characteristics can be eroded through more careful investigation, revealing that this manner of thinking about the Global South is itself polemical and overly simple.

See other articles in Volume 18, Issue 1. Bookmark the permalink.