Multiple Sovereignties and Summary Justice in Mozambique

A Critique of Some Legal Anthropological Terms

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 University of Bergen Bjorn.Bertelsen@uib.no
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Mozambique has echoed developments in other sub-Saharan countries by recently 'recognizing' its traditional authorities and extending their powers. Some celebrate this as 'legal pluralism' and what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls a 'heterogeneous state'. I question such assessments on the basis of case material collected in Chimoio, Mozambique, from 2007 to 2008. The two cases presented here explore the 2008 spate of the burning of alleged thieves and an individual's search for protection in a poor neighborhood. Overall, the article aims to suggest a reformulation of some political and legal anthropology developed in the context of Africa and, especially, to avoid some of the universalizing typologies and individuating features of such anthropology.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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