Jonas Wolff | 2023

The Deconstruction and Reproduction of Mistrust

In: ConTrust Working Paper No. 4

Over the last three decades, countries across the Andean region have moved toward legal recognition of indigenous justice systems. This turn toward legal pluralism, however, has been and continues to be heavily contested. The working paper explores a theoretical perspective that aims at analyzing and making sense of this contentious process by assessing the interplay between conflict and (mis)trust. Based on a review of the existing scholarship on legal pluralism and indigenous justice in the Andean region, with a particular focus on the cases of Bolivia and Ecuador, it is argued that manifest conflict over the contested recognition of indigenous justice can be considered as helpful and even necessary for the deconstruction of mistrust of indigenous justice. Still, such conflict can also help reproduce and even reinforce mistrust, depending on the ways in which conflict is dealt with politically and socially. The exploratory paper suggests four propositions that specify the complex and contingent relationship between conflict and (mis)trust in the contested negotiation of pluralist justice systems in the Andean region.

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