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Sarah Thompson

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Graduate Student Fellowship | 2022 - 2023 Academic Year

Justice and Identity and Legal Pluralism: Evidence from Traditional Communities in Pakistan and Beyond

Governance and Institutions
Gender and Equity

One-third of the world’s population has ties to traditional governance institutions, which can resolve disputes and provide services while leveraging customary authority. Yet, the norms, practices, and rights associated with traditional judicial institutions may differ substantially from or even contradict the state’s. Focusing on Latin America and South Asia, my dissertation assesses under which conditions citizens in areas of legal pluralism —those featuring both state and traditional dispute resolution bodies—choose to engage with the state and/or traditional institution. I also analyze the consequences of these choices, especially as it relates to state legitimacy, quality of justice, and individual and collective experiences of violence.

Sarah Thompson, Department of Political Science


Sarah Thompson is a PhD candidate in political science. Thompson's dissertation work focuses on the politics of those excluded from state-based political systems. She researches how women and other marginalized groups participate in state and indigenous governance systems, primarily in South Asia. Her work combines rigorous field experiments and qualitative insights from fieldwork to produce novel data and understandings of those 'left behind' by state governance.

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