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The silent wars of the ordinary: bitter neighborliness and the judiciary in Haiti
The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-04-23, DOI: 10.1080/07329113.2020.1755537
Marco Motta

Abstract The general concern of this paper revolves around the interplay between state and unofficial law in rural Haiti. By looking at the complex relation between legal and extrajudicial means of managing the consequences of a homicide, I examine the dynamics of imposition, appropriation, and resistance to state law in a postcolonial context. Yet, my concern is less with the devastating manifestation of overt violence than with the quotidian struggles people have to deal with, which I call “the silent wars of the ordinary.” Through a close description of the case at hand, I aim to draw a different picture of what commonly counts as law, as well as the ways in which people relate to the judiciary. My ambition is to allow for another understanding of the making of ordinary legality by demonstrating how the silent wars of the ordinary are intrinsically constitutive of such making.