The end of impunity: Why some states are so violent and how their societies can recover

Date & time

5–6pm Monday 16 October 2017


Acton Theatre

JG Crawford Building, 132 Lennox Crossing, The Australian National University


Dr Rachel Kleinfeld, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Jessica Ford

Presented by The Law and Justice Development Community of Practice & RegNet

In conversation
Rachel Kleinfeld

The most violent country in the world today is not Syria, but Brazil, where gangs, organized crime, regular crime, and state brutality create a pall of fear over daily life. Why are so many democratic states engulfed by violence? If the problem is poverty, why does homicide disproportionately afflict middle-income countries? If governments are so weak, why do countries otherwise able to deliver for their citizens find themselves unable to deliver on safety?

Rachel Kleinfeld's forthcoming book (Knopf 2018), based on field research in places that escaped extreme violence in Latin America, Europe, South Asia, the former Soviet Union, and the United States, argues that violence often arises from states that are complicit, rather than weak. What looks like a country overrun by gangs, insurgents, or organized crime is a governing system of extreme privilege and impunity for a few.

Dr Kleinfeld will introduce those ideas and discuss how violence works to bound these democracies, how some succeeded in overcoming their fates, and what her research tells us about countries caught in the throes of violence today. We will then open up for questions tendered in advance, and then for general Q&A.

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