ConTrust Working Paper No. 4 | „The Deconstruction and Reproduction of Mistrust“ by Jonas Wolff

Over the last three decades, countries across the Andean region have moved toward legal recognition of indigenous justice systems. This turn toward legal pluralism, however, has been and continues to be heavily contested. The working paper explores a theoretical perspective that aims at analyzing and making sense of this contentious process by assessing the interplay between conflict and (mis)trust. Based on a review of the existing scholarship on legal pluralism and indigenous justice in the Andean region, with a particular focus on the cases of Bolivia and Ecuador, it is argued that manifest conflict over the contested recognition of indigenous justice can be considered as helpful and even necessary for the deconstruction of mistrust of indigenous justice. Still, such conflict can also help reproduce and even reinforce mistrust, depending on the ways in which conflict is dealt with politically and socially. The exploratory paper suggests four propositions that specify the complex and contingent relationship between conflict and (mis)trust in the contested negotiation of pluralist justice systems in the Andean region.

A revised version of the working paper has been published in Spanish:
Wolff, Jonas 2023: Conflictividad, (des)confianza y pluralismo jurídico en la región andina, in: Andares: Revista en Derechos Humanos y de la Naturaleza 2: 3, 26-36, .

Trust, mistrust, indigenous justice, legal pluralism, Latin America



The text of this publication is published under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International. The exact wording of the license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 can be found here.

Recommended Citation
Jonas Wolff, „The Deconstruction and Reproduction of Mistrust“, ConTrust Working Paper, No. 4, Frankfurt am Main: ConTrust – Trust in Conflict, 2023.


Foto: Barbara Frommann

Prof. Dr. Jonas Wolff (1975) is Professor of Political Science with a focus on Transformation Studies, Latin America, at the Goethe University Frankfurt as well as a member of the board and head of the research department „Intrastate Conflict“ at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). His research focuses on the transformation of political orders, contentious politics, international democracy promotion and Latin American politics. He received his PhD from Goethe University Frankfurt in 2007 and his habilitation from the University of Kassel in 2014. Jonas Wolff is a governing board member of the German-Colombian Peace Institute (Instituto CAPAZ) in Bogotá and a member of the External Democracy Promotion (EDP) research network.

Phone: +49 (0) 69 959104-49