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4. Nov 2017

„Injustices in the land of solidarity“ – lecture at a Berlin conference

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Participation at the conference of the German Anthropological Association in Berlin

The bi-annual conference of the German Anthroplogical Association was a welcome occasion to present some fresh first results of the ongoing DySoMa research project. The conference was organized at the Free University (Freie Universität) at Berlin, between 4 and 7 October on the subject of „Belonging: Affective, moral and political practices in an interconnected world“. It is the most important professional meeting of social anthropologists from German-speaking countries (but including a number of colleagues of other countries as well).

I choose to talk about „Injustices in the land of solidarity. The movement of people justice (dina) on Madagascar“. The focus of the lecture was on the ongoing process of legalization of the hitherto informal „village conventions“, embedded in a complex process of negociation of power.

The dina-conventions were seen by local populations as an appropriate possibility to restore order and to fight against the problem of increasing insecurity. However, the local regulations, essentially a list of punishments (sometimes including death penalty), were not corresponding to state law and open to arbitrariness. State actors proposed the elaboration of laws as a way to solve that problem, elaborating a formal procedure of „homologation“ between dina-regulation and state law. While a formal acceptance became thereby achieved, the effectiveness of dina became strongly reduced in the eyes of local population. The process of homologation served not only to reintroduce state justice but, in the eyes of the villagers, as well that problem of related corruption and injustice which, originally, the informal dina-agreements had tried to overcome. Thereby an important gap continues to exist between formal justice and the practice of justice, leaving local population in a constant state of powerlessness.


The lecture was part of the panel „Belongings, justice and politics of morality“ (conveners: Julia Eckert and Anna-Lena Wolf) which allowed to discuss related general questions based on the case studies presented.


Annual session of th German Anthropological Association, 06.10.2017

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 702497 – DySoMa.



Über Peter Friedrich Alfons Kneitz

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