Hybridity in policing: the case of Ethiopia

Bruce Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Hybridity is used in a broad range of disciplines to define a process or institutional outcome
of mixed organisational systems and practices. In justice, security and policing
studies, it is used to describe the interpenetration of different policing and justice providers.
The paper examines the parameters within which hybridity is a beneficial concept
for the analysis of policing providers and their relationships, and considers
whether it offers anything beyond legal pluralism. In addition, it considers whether
hybridity has normative value for designing and evaluating effective policing policy.
The debate and the author’s conclusions that integration rather than interaction marks
the essence of hybridity are illustrated by a case study from Ethiopia. There, faced
with capacity and legitimacy issues within the state justice and security system, the
government has adopted hybrid policing within a wider embrace of legal pluralism.
The hybrid policing entails the use by the police of case diversion to traditional leaders,
the use of traditional justice processes such as mediation by the police themselves,
and at the village level mixed approaches by community policing committees that consist
of both police and local people including traditional elders
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-313
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • hybridity
  • Ethiopia police
  • formal–informal links
  • case diversion


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