Ezequiel González-Ocantos wins Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award | News and Media

Dr Ezequiel González-Ocantos wins Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award

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    Photo: Photo of memorial to the victims of Chile's political dictatorship by 'Truque da Banana' (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Congratulations to Ezequiel González-Ocantos for winning the Latin American Studies Association's Donna Lee Van Cott Book Award for his book 'Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America'.

The committee stated that:

We believe this book stands out for several reasons. The question that guides the book is both theoretically novel and substantively relevant. Ezequiel develops a theory of change in the prevailing legal culture from one in which positivism and formalism determine the Court’s rulings to one in which the values of international human rights take preeminence. Substantively, the book’s topic is of the utmost importance. Conservative ideologies are quite common in the region and the protection of human rights is a subject that requires further investigation and explanation. Why do some countries respect their citizens’ human rights more so than others? What are the causal factors that explain the change in the way justice is conceived in a given country? These questions have real importance for real people in Latin America.

Ezequiel’s book is also impressive because of its commitment to offer convincing and abundant empirical evidences. Methodologically, the book is very solid. Researchers and students alike will surely benefit from the way in which the in-depth case studies of Argentina, Peru and Mexico are presented. The Argentine and Peruvian cases are positive ones—cases in which the change in judicial culture took place— and the Mexican case is negative—no change—. The richness of the data and the rigor of the analysis is extremely valuable.

Dr Ezequiel González Ocantos is Associate Professor in the Qualitative Study of Comparative Political Institutions; Professorial Fellow, Nuffield College