The Shifting Contours of the Outlaw in Urban Haiti

  • Chelsey Kivland Dartmouth College
Keywords: deportation, resettlement, gangs, Haiti


In what follows, I discuss some initial empirical findings and theoretical insights from my recent work on transnational resettlement of crime-based deportees from the US to Haiti. Haitian baz, or street organizations, are increasingly taking on the trappings of the urban gang to maintain relevance and control of their zones. Simultaneously, gangs are deploying the dressings of the baz to attain authority throughout neighborhoods in Haiti. The increasing presence of criminal deportees in Haiti has complicated the political landscape to blend local and foreign categorizations of the criminal, potentially foreshadowing the end of the Haitian baz as a coherent political formation. The impact of these dynamics is discussed in the context of recent work in post-human scholarship and criminal deportation.

Author Biography

Chelsey Kivland, Dartmouth College

Chelsey L. Kivland is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth College, USA. Her work focuses on how and why people find meaning in power and conflict. Her research on street politics and violence in Port-au-Prince uncovered the multiple and contradictory ways people compete for control in their neighborhood zone and for linkages with broader domains of power. She has published this research in several articles and in the book, Street Sovereigns: Young Men and the Makeshift State in Urban Haiti (Cornell University Press, 2020). Her current National Science Foundation funded research project, A Dream Deported: Race, Crime, and Deportation in Transnational Haiti, explores changing notions of citizenship, statehood, and the social contract through an ethnography of the global regulatory regime of criminal deportation, as manifested between the United States and Haiti.


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How to Cite
Kivland, Chelsey. 2024. “The Shifting Contours of the Outlaw in Urban Haiti”. Swiss Journal of Sociocultural Anthropology 29 (1):124-30.