Existing scholarship on vigilantism focuses on explaining factors that push citizens into the streets to take the law into their own hands. This article complements these theories by examining fear of reprisals that can keep vigilantes off the streets. It argues that vigilantism becomes rife when vigilantes find a systematic way to collude with state officials to obtain impunity. Qualitative data from Indonesia illustrate how street-level policemen grant selective impunity for vigilantism to gain public support for dispensing their more pressing duties. Contrary to conventional wisdom that links state-building to a decline in vigilantism, analysis of a sub-national dataset of 33,262 victims of vigilantism in Indonesia shows that a rapid expansion of the state's coercive presence is associated with higher levels of vigilante violence.
Jaffrey, S. (2022). Special Symposium, Collective Vigilantism in Global Comparative Perspective Mechanics of Impunity: Vigilantism and State-Building in Indonesia. Comparative Politics, 55(2), 287–311. https://doi.org/10.5129/001041523x16645492774955