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"The Harder the Rain, the Tighter the Roof"

Evolution of Organized Crime Networks in the Russian Far East

Tobias Holzlehner

Organized crime is not a new phenomenon in Russia; however, it differs in contemporary Russia significantly, in quality as well as in quantity, from its predecessors. Using the Russian Far East, especially the city of Vladivostok, as a case study, this article sketches the evolution of organized crime in the region during the last 20 years. Tracing interconnections between various criminal groups through time, the article shows that quick reactions to new market opportunities were essential for successful illegal entrepreneurship. Powerful local elites have emerged and monopolized particular sectors of the industry (especially the fishing and shipping business). The case studies illustrate the interlinkages between organized crime structures, big business, and the political aspirations of powerful individuals. This article is a proposition to move beyond the economic paradigm in organized crime research and to focus more intensively on the multiple functions organized crime groups carry out in contemporary Russia.

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“We Had to Pay to Live!”

Competing Sovereignties in Violent Mexico

Wil G. Pansters

This article examines the emergence of self-defense forces (autodefensas) in Michoacán (Mexico) in the context of relationships between drug trafficking and the state, concentrating on the recent history of fragmentation, disorder, and violence. It traces how these processes generated comprehensive criminal sovereignty projects, which then triggered the emergence of armed defense forces in both indigenous and mestizo communities. Recent developments in Michoacán are described in light of anthropological theorizing about the relations between sovereignty, state-making, and (dis)ordering. The analysis elucidates the triangular dynamics of sovereignty-making among organized crime, the state, and armed citizens. Special attention is given to state interventions to dismantle de facto self-defense sovereignties because these have created an unstable and violent situation. It is argued that sovereignty-making is territorial and historical, and that it is embedded in political, economic, and cultural identities.

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The Rule of Law as a Condition for Development Toward Sustainability

Toward a New Legally Oriented Environment at a Global Level

Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini

A Retrospective Overview from the Italian Experience For a long time, Italy has suffered from organized crime and terrorism. This experience has put the fight against crime, drugs, money laundering, and terrorism very much in focus of Italian

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Life in the ant trails

Cocaine and caustic circuits in Bissau

Henrik Vigh

understanding of such developments. While academics and commentators often talk about transnational organized crime (TOC) as a pathogen or plague, simultaneously external to, but parasitical on, the global order, an ethnographic approach clarifies the intrinsic

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Egalitarian Lives and Violence

Community Policing in Mozambique

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen


Since independence in 1975, Mozambique has experimented with society-state relations, including an Afro-socialist revolutionary transformation followed by a multi-party democracy with nominal state functions, such as policing. Building on fieldwork, this article analyzes the genealogy and practices of community policing, arguing that while its emergence reflects a global transformation of state apparatuses reliant on securitization, this transition is still in progress. Community policing practices interconnect with both (petty and organized) crime and nominally past experiments in revolutionary citizenship in socialist Mozambique, including the promises of egalitarian life that linger on in political cosmology and memory. Mozambican community policing thus exhibits the core characteristics of a fluid and ‘predatory-protective’ security assemblage, while simultaneously harboring the potential for instantiating forms of egalitarian life beyond hierarchical state ordering.

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The Rosarno Revolt: Toward Political Mobilization for Immigrants?

Camilla Devitt

“Rosarno: Immigrant revolt, hundreds of cars damaged” was the

alarming headline in La Repubblica on 7 January 2010. An immigrant

protest and ensuing episodes of violence in the small town of Rosarno

in Calabria in southern Italy were followed with intense interest by the

national and international media and prompted a heated public debate

in Italy. Upcoming regional elections and shared political responsibility

for immigration resulted in politicians blaming their opponents

for the disorder. Minister of the Interior Roberto Maroni’s immediate

response was to maintain that the events were the result of too much

tolerance toward undocumented immigrants. Following the discovery

that the majority of migrants involved were legally resident in Italy,

the government subsequently emphasized the role of inadequate labor

market controls and organized crime.

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Doing bizness

Migrant smuggling and everyday life in the Maghreb

Line Richter

lack of consensus regarding the degree to which such people [migrant smugglers] operate in networks structured or durable enough to be called ‘organized crime’” 2 (2011: 35), regarding the specific case of human smuggling from West Africa to Europe

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Book Reviews

Christopher Hill, Anna Bara, David Dettmann, Joseph Livesey, and Falk Huettmann

Shadow Networks: Border Economies, Informal Markets and Organized Crime in the Russian Far East Tobias Holzlehner (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2015), 240 pp., charts, figures, maps, references, index. €29.90 (paperback). ISBN: 978-3-643-90651-9 Tales of Russia in

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Anthropological criminology 2.0

David Sausdal and Henrik Vigh

international policy makers and pundits. As the United Nations Office on Drugs Crime stressed in its report The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment , contemporary issues of criminal activity, and the policing and prevention

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State and Warfare in Mexico

The Case of Ayotzinapa

Alessandro Zagato

power in Mexico is shaped by an unprecedented coalition of conventional state agencies, organized crime, and private enterprises and corporations. In this fragmented configuration, dispersed ‘clusters of power’ tend to take shape at different scales