GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies

The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies conducts research on political and economic developments in the countries of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Core topics include the quality of political institutions and participation, challenges posed by conflicts and crime, and regional integration.

  • The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies is the only non‐university research institute in Germany that is dedicated to the analysis of political, social, and economic developments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). GIGA’s Latin America scholars research, among other topics, the quality of democratic institutions and participation; the challenges posed by violence and crime; the interaction of inequality and politics; social, health and gender policies; immigration and emigration; and regional integration, with publications in lead journals and active knowledge transfer efforts.

    The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies has a global reputation as one of the leading academic centres on LAC in Europe, and has a constant flow of doctoral and visiting researchers from LAC countries. GIGA’s Latin America scholars have recently held leadership roles in organisations such as the German Latin American Studies Association (ADLAF), the Latin American Political Science Association (ALACIP), and the American Political Science Association (APSA). Moreover, the regional institute hosts the secretariat of the network “Red Euro‐Latinoamericana de Gobernabilidad para el Desarrollo” (RedGob), and co-edits, with Prof. Rossana Castiglioni from Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile, the Journal of Politics in Latin America, one of the four peer‐reviewed Open Access journals of the GIGA Journal Family. 

    The GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies is also actively engaged in knowledge exchange with the policy community, both here in Germany and the European Union as well as in LAC, most recently as a co-organiser, with the German Foreign Office, of a high-level event at the EU-LAC Foreign Ministers’ conference in 2020.

    Leadership (ad interim)

    Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding | 03/2024

    Variations of Peace in Colombia

    Peace and conflict are not the same across territories and scales. Conceptualizing peace as a process based on three core functions of society and related norms allows us to identify variations in peacebuilding needs and perceptions. The entanglement of different scales shapes the diversity of peace and highlights the opportunities and challenges of peacebuilding and related norms, along with their diffusion and contestation.

    Legal Pluralism and Critical Social Analysis | 02/2024

    The Law of God, the Law of the State and the Law of Crime: an Anthropological Account of the Consolidation of Multiple Normative Regimes in Brazilian Urban Margins

    Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Brazilian urban peripheries, this article proposes a theoretical reflection on normative multiplicities and their relations to the dynamics of violence in contexts of sharp conflict.

    GIGA Journal Family

    The GIGA Journal Family is published by SAGE Publishing, maintaining the "platinum standard" of the open access model. Excellent contributions by researchers from all over the world are featured in the four journals. To ensure the journals' quality, all essays are evaluated in a double-blind peer-review process.

    GIGA Journal Family

    Research Project | 01/02/2024 - 31/12/2025

    Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL), Phase II: Digitalisation as Chance for Cooperation with Global Partners

    GIGA‘s Digital Transformation Lab (DigiTraL), funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, analyses the political drivers and real-world consequences of the digital transformation taking place around the world. The Global South in particular is an important actor in and shaper of this transformation.
    FFO, 2024-2025

    Research Project | 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2025

    Climate Obstruction and Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective

    The fight against climate change continues to be hindered by campaigns of corporate and other actors who seek to prevent global and/or national action on climate change. This research group is set up to a joint and comparative research agenda on climate obstruction in and across key Global South countries. The lead institutions are the GIGA and the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
    DAAD/CAPES, 2024-2026

    Research Project | 17/10/2022 - 31/12/2023

    Interventions on COVID-19 Vaccination and other infectious Diseases in the Migrant Population at the Colombian-Venezuelan Border

    Among Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, highly treatable diseases such as syphilis have become a major health concern, with particularly serious risks for pregnant women and infants. Medical treatment faces the challenges of how to reach out to the migrants in often precarious legal and material situations. The project will explore effective ways to provide adequate prevention and health care measures for the at-risk population in the context of these obstacles.
    GIZ, 2022-2023

    Research Project | 15/01/2022 - 14/12/2024

    COVID-19 and Executive Personalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the MENA Region

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders reacted by containment measures that, next to combating the spread of the pandemic, also presented a window of opportunity to bolster executives’ personal grasp on power. Personalization of power has been particularly worrying in the Global South where constraints on the chief executives were often already weak prior to the pandemic. This project assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the personalization of executive power in 36 countries of the Global South.
    DFG, 2021-2024

    Research Project | 01/10/2021 - 01/10/2022

    COVID-19 in Latin America: The Role of Social Protections for Households with Children

    This project analyzes the socio-economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the intervening role of social protections, on families with children in eight Latin American countries. The region, with high levels of inequality, labor informality, and urbanization, has been particularly hard hit by both pandemic deaths and economic effects. The social protection responses, however, have varied dramatically, from a massive emergency assistance plan in Brazil to virtually no additional cash transfer aid in Mexico.
    DFG, 2021-2022

    Prof. Dr. Merike Blofield

    Former GIGA Team member

    Dr. Juliana Martínez Franzoni

    University of Costa Rica

    Research Project | 01/05/2021 - 30/04/2026

    Democratic Institutions in the Global South (DEMINGS)

    This project contributes new knowledge on the functioning of democratic institutions in the Global South, their (in)efficacy to constrain powerful executives, and the effects of particular institutions on both democratic quality and regime stability. The focus is on countries with presidential constitutions, i.e., those with directly elected presidents, an institutional choice that extended worldwide in the last decades.
    Leibniz Competition, 2021-2026

    Research Project | 01/05/2021 - 31/12/2025

    German-Latin American Centre of Infection & Epidemiology Research and Training (GLACIER)

    The COVID-19 pandemic is showing that infectious diseases can only be solved by global efforts; and that medical and social approaches must go hand in hand in order to provide solutions. Based on this understanding, the GIGA has become part of the new multi-disciplinary DAAD-funded „German-Latin American Centre of Infection & Epidemiology Research and Training“ – GLACIER and will work on a comparative study of vaccination policies in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. DAAD, 2021-2025

    Research Project | 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2025

    INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments

    The Leibniz Research Alliance INFECTIONS promotes interdisciplinary research across several sections of the Leibniz Association. It focuses on the spread of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) microbes in an urbanizing society. This is a topical issue since a number of endemic infectious diseases are the leading cause of disease and mortality worldwide. In addition, humanity is increasingly challenged by emerging infectious agents that are often zoonotic in nature, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
    Leibniz Association, 2021-2025


    Laurita Hargreaves

    Doctoral Researcher


    Research Platform Latin America

    Exchange and cooperation with scholars from around the world is a decades-long tradition at the GIGA. Since 2015 we have been intensifying and consolidating this cooperation with the help of the GIGA research platforms. 

    Consolidating and expanding its collaborative work with leading universities and research institutes in Brazil and beyond is a primary objective of GIGA Research Platform in Latin America. 

    Research Platforms

    President (ad interim)

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach is President (ad interim) of the GIGA.

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Regional Institutes

    Africa|Asia|Latin America|Middle East


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