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Special Symposium, Collective Vigilantism in Global Comparative Perspective

Gender Gaps in Support for Vigilante Violence

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Mob vigilantism—the punishment of alleged criminals by groups of citizens is widespread throughout the developing world. Drawing on surveys with more than 13,000 respondents from Uganda, Tanzania, and South Africa, this article shows women are more likely than men to support mob vigilantism. Qualitative evidence, a vignette experiment, and survey measures suggest men and women differ in their beliefs about mob vigilantism. Men are more convinced that mob vigilantism creates risks of false accusation for those who do not commit crime. I trace this divergence in beliefs to differences in men's and women's personal risk of being accused of a crime that they did not commit. The results speak against the notion that women are inherently more opposed to violence than men.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2023

This article was made available online on November 3, 2022 as a Fast Track article with title: "Gender Gaps in Support for Vigilante Violence".

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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