Sociology PhD Student Eduardo Gutierrez Cornelius at the University of Toronto was recently awarded the 2021 Roderick A. Macdonald Graduate Student Essay Prize from the Canadian Law and Society Association. His paper, “Discursive Mismatch and Globalization by Stealth: The Fight Against Corruption in the Brazilian Legal Field”, was initially wrote for courses in the PhD Program – first for the seminar “Contemporary Sociological Theory”, secondly in his practicum course, thirdly for "Law, Politics, and Globalization", and finally through an applied for and received Summer PLF. This project is part of Eduardo’s Ph.D. dissertation in which he explores the role of legal actors in the criminalization of the elites in Brazil, co-supervised by Sida Liu and Ron Levi.
The paper analyzes Brazilian lawyers’ debates over an anti-corruption bill, named the Ten Measures Against Corruption. While prosecutors defend the bill by importing global ideas on the problem of corruption, defence attorneys criticize the bill’s criminal law solutions. Eduardo explains this mismatch by looking at these legal actors’ professional trajectories. He also argues that this discursive mismatch leads to a form of globalization by stealth, whereby local dynamics allow global ideas to remain unchallenged in local fields. Looking beyond the technical legal issues debated, Eduardo shows how this process legitimates particular moral views about the Global South.
Eduardo has also conducted research on institutional responses to corruption (with Mariana Prado), law and social theory (with Sida Liu), and youth justice on which he has published a book titled, The “Worst of Both Worlds”? The Legitimate Construction of Youth Justice by the Superior Court of Justice.