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L'état aux champs : l'administration de justice rurale au Chili (1824-1875)

Abstract : In Chile, during the nineteenth century, inspectors and sub-delegates were civil servants who served justice to the lowest strata – namely in the districts and the sub-delegations that formed the Republic. They were appointed by the governor of the province and were men who could read and write, enjoyed a certain economic independence and had decent social status. Most of them had no legal training nor knowledge: they were lego judges, as opposed to university lawyers, the letrados. They were conducting minor trials orally and, in the case of sub-delegates, light indictable cases; that is to say the most common and numerous ones. In addition, they held wide administrative and police entitlements which combined roles making them responsible for public order within their constituencies. All this, without any remuneration or gratuity from the State: such positions were in fact honorary charges, performed for free. [...] In view of these developments, the administrative feature of the county judge was appearing to “go against the grain”, which got noticed by the enlightened jurists of the time. Therefore, this thesis questions the permanence of these civil servants throughout the studied period, i.e. between the Justice Administrative Rules of 1824 and the Judiciary and Judicial Appointment Law of 1875. It also seeks to understand the meaning and credence of this function, to report on its activity and the conditions under which it was exercised, to imagine its effectiveness and its acceptance within the community – all of which being potentially able to contribute to its longevity. Two fields of study were favored in view of their representative value of the Chilean countryside: the Curicó province, a valley marked by commercial agriculture and traditional export, and the Copiapó province a mining desert well included in capitalist economy. [...] The studied “maladministration-of-justice” cases show that, before punishing and penalizing, the letrado judge attempted to advise and to guide his lego judges. Custodians of a valuable "know-how", these "ignorant" of the Law proved to be absolutely necessary for the maintenance of law and order. They acted – in more or less regulatory procedural terms – upon the daily life conflicts and disputes of their community as revealed through the sources (some of them being previously unpublished). Moreover, reports of judicial visits, court cases and administrative correspondence allow us to see county judges with a "human face". In short, they provide a way to understand how the state formation took place, in the countryside and from the latter’s own point of view.
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Pauline Bilot. L'état aux champs : l'administration de justice rurale au Chili (1824-1875). Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I; Instituto de historia (Santiago-du-Chili), 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019PA01H007⟩. ⟨tel-02440578⟩



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