Authority is the legitimate power (Weber, 1947) produced in different forms and several circumstances. However, through conflict mediation and delivering justice power and legitimacy is required especially for those who are trying to ensure the justice. To support this argument, this project has explored the conflict mediation process in rural Bangladesh. Namely Shalish is a process where elderly, elites, and leaders with power and legitimacy seat together hear the petition and the argumentations of the parties involved in disputes or violent conflicts. After single or consecutive hearings, the elites pronounce their verdict and ensure the penalty for the convicted person/s. Nevertheless, some people abide by the verdict some people don’t and that makes things complicated and is the puzzle for this research project. It has been observed that when elites with higher power and legitimacy pronounce the verdict for less powerful convicts, it is likely that the penalty will be implemented, but the opposite is also true. During the field research, several criteria have been found for how power and legitimacy are formed and how they generate authority. Building on this, this project attempts to answer the question of how authority is used to deliver justice in rural Bangladesh.

  • Funding: “Special Research Fund” (BOF) Ghent University grants PhD “sandwich” scholarships
  • Time period: 2017-2023
  • People involved: Krishna Kumar Saha (PhD student), Bert Suykens (supervisor)