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Illicit Flows and Criminal Things

States, Borders, and the Other Side of Globalization

Edited by Willem van Schendel and Itty Abraham

Publication Year: 2005

Illicit Flows and Criminal Things offers a new perspective on illegal transnational linkages, international relations, and the transnational. The contributors argue for a nuanced approach that recognizes the difference between "organized" crime and the thousands of illicit acts that take place across national borders every day. They distinguish between the illegal (prohibited by law) and the illicit (socially perceived as unacceptable), which are historically changeable and contested. Detailed case studies of arms smuggling, illegal transnational migration, the global diamond trade, borderland practices, and the transnational consumption of drugs take us to Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and North America. They allow us to understand how states, borders, and the language of law enforcement produce criminality, and how people and goods which are labeled "illegal" move across regulatory spaces.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Tracking Globalization


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pp. C-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-iiii


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p. iv-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Country boats floating down the river Gancges with cargoes of contraband cattle, motorcycle parts, people, and heroin. Border guards in civilian clothes receiving the smugglers to count their goods and collect pocket ...

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pp. 1-37

Around the world, the mass media have turned talk of transnational crime into a major cottage industry. You only have to take a cursory look at the World Wide Web to find news ...

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1. Spaces of Engagement: How Borderlands, Illegal Flows, and Territorial States Interlock

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pp. 38-68

A generation ago, Eric Wolf warned his fellow social scientists against studying the world as if it were made up of "sociocultural billiard balls, coursing on a global...

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2. The Rumor of Trafficking: Border Controls, Illegal Migration, and the Sovereignty of the Nation-State

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pp. 69-100

Furtive flows of human cargo slipped through the border controls of otherwise sovereign nation-states-this dramatic image has emerged in the last decade as the visible embodiment of a menacing...

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3. Talking Like a State: Drugs, Borders, and the Language of Control

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pp. 101-127

This chapter explores the relationships between illicit drug flows and state borders. The larger theme, for other objects-in=flow, is how languages of "control" underlie their...

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4. "Here, Even Legislators Chew Them" : Coco Leaves and Identity Politics in Northern Argentina

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pp. 128-152

Chewing coca leaves is an ancient habit in the Andes that is currently spreading among Westernized urban consumers in northern Argentina. In this chapter I take you on a journey through this region. You will meet ...

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5. Seeing the State Like a Migrant: Why So Many Non-criminals Break Immigration Laws

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pp. 153-176

James Scott pondered the question of why "the state" seems to be the enemy of people who move around, though this question led him to write a much broader book regarding the failure of state planning due to hom states "see like a state." 1 In short, states seek...

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6. Criminality and the Global Diamond Trade: A Methodological Case Study

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pp. 177-200

This chapter was written when the "blood diamond" phenomenon it describes was at its height and when international efforts to control the trade in illicit gem diamonds...

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7. Small Arms, Cattle Raiding, and Borderlands: The Ilemi Triangle

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pp. 201-226

In this chapter we offer an analysis of how, in the border region adjoining Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Sudan, an area known as the "Ilemi Triangle," communal regulation broke down ...

Consolidated Bibliography

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pp. 227-254


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pp. 255-256


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pp. 257-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780253111579
E-ISBN-10: 0253111579
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253346698

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 2 b&w photos, 6 maps, 1 bibliog., 1 index
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Tracking Globalization