School of Social and Political Science

Social Anthropology Seminar: The Many Faces of Peace: Rule of Law, the Justice of the Peace, and Everyday Life in Haiti

29 October 2021
15:00 - 17:00




Conventionally, Haiti is seen by foreign funding agencies as a “war-torn,” or “post-conflict,” or “failed,” state that needs “help.” What ensues, is usually a certain rhetoric of “peace-building” that takes the form of advocacy for “democracy” that functions as a justification for all kinds of interventions in domestic affairs. In this context, the rule of law is pictured as the necessary and unavoidable means by which Haiti would attain sufficient “peace” and “stabilization” to enable a democratic transition. One aim of this presentation it to make explicit a certain number of assumptions and the underpinnings of this normative view, as well as its effects on the ground. In order to do so, I propose a close look at what happens in everyday life, especially in and around JP courts. Departing from this gaze from below, I show that the promotion of the rule of law and peace can indeed contrariwise lead to destabilization, violence and the reproduction of inequalities.

Key speakers

  • Marco Motta, Institute of Ethnology at the University of Neuchâtel