Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States (VIRTUAL)
Dara Kay Cohen
Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School
What are the social and political consequences of poor state governance and low state legitimacy? Under what conditions does lynching – lethal, extralegal group violence to punish offenses to the community – become an acceptable practice? This talk by Dara Kay Cohen is based on her new coauthored book of the same name, published by Cambridge University Press (2020) in the Cambridge Elements in Political Economy series. Drawing on original survey and interview data from Haiti, the book explores how lynching emerges and becomes accepted, revealing a relationship between weak formal institutions and support for collective vigilantism. Her talk will shed light on the practice of lynching as well as why institutional weakness is so difficult to combat.