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'Taking the law into your own hands': Violent vigilantism in Post-war Societies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Why do some post-civil war societies experience high levels of violent vigilantism, whilst others do not? Vigilantism, i.e. when citizens take the law into their own hands, in post-civil war societies is an overlooked topic within peace and conflict research. It is however a daily reality in some parts of the world, where populations are facing challenging post-war conditions, with the transition from war to peace being marked by high levels of crime and lack of order and security. Studies on vigilantism have pointed to the importance of state legitimacy; if the state is not viewed as the legitimate, this may spur citizens to take matters into their own hands. One potential variable that can undermine state legitimacy is judicial corruption. The judiciary has an important role in enforcing law and order, but if this role is perverted by corrupt practices, then citizens can no longer expect that the state is able to uphold the law in a fair way, and may turn to vigilantism. The aim of this thesis is to test this argument by studying the post-civil war cases of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. While the hypothesis gets some support, the overall conclusion is that while judicial corruption may harm the popular attitude toward the judiciary, it is perhaps not the most important variable in explaining high levels of violent vigilantism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 85
Keywords [en]
post-war, vigilantism, judicial corruption, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-325118OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-325118DiVA, id: diva2:1113108
Subject / course
Peace and Conflict Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-06-21 Created: 2017-06-21 Last updated: 2017-06-21Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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