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Situating the Inter-American Human Rights System in the Oscillation of International Law


This article considers the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) as a response to the general assessments of some critical scholarship on international law. It employs the concept of “oscillation of international law” to organize different views of the international human rights and environmental law (IHREL) scholarship, two legal regimes that speak loudest to the IAHRS’ interests. These views are distributed within a spectrum that goes from utopian demands placed on IHREL, to apologist defenses of these legal regimes. I put forward a third strand of critical intervention by framing the IAHRS as a space of political and legal contention that promises to address some of the IHREL’s shortcomings. I caution, however, that, although the IAHRS functions as an enabling platform for subaltern polities that redraw the boundaries of legal meanings, the system may fall short in tackling challenges that are contingent on global capitalist logics.

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