Carlos Andrés Orozco Arcieri

Lynching in Latin America as Reactionary Social Control. Unanticipated Consequences of Legal Prohibitions

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Since the mid nineties there has been a significant increase in the number of lynchings in Latin America. However, this has not been reflected in an increased interest in the topic. In addition, the few studies on lynchings in Latin America are in their great majority quantitative and the explanations of the causes of this phenomenon are developed, by the majority of the authors, from assumptions related to the lack of the State or the absence of the legal system. Here we intend to observe lynchings from Niklas Luhmann's theory of autopoietics social systems and from Robert K. Merton's distinction between manifest and latent functions, as a parasitic social system that appears in the presence of legal safeguards. These unanticipated consequences of legal prohibitions are dysfunctional for functional differentiation. Also, we introduce a definition of lynching as reactionary social control.

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