Criminal Enterprises and Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean

Criminal Enterprises and Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean

By: Enrique Desmond Arias (author)Paperback

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This book examines security in three cities that suffer from chronic violence: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Medellin, Colombia; and Kingston, Jamaica. In each, democratic states contend with subnational armed groups that dominate territory and play important roles in politics even as they contribute to fear and insecurity. Through a nested three-city, six-neighborhood analysis of the role of criminal groups in governance, this research provides a deep understanding of the impact of crime on political experience. Neighborhoods controlled by different types of armed actors, operating in the same institutional context, build alliances with state officials and participate in political life through the structures created by these armed actors. The data demonstrates the effects criminal dominance can have on security, civil society, elections, and policymaking. Far from reflecting a breakdown of order, varying types of criminal groups generate different local lived political experiences.

About Author

Enrique Desmond Arias is Associate Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, Virginia. He authored Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro (2006) and co-edited Violent Democracies in Latin America (with Daniel M. Goldstein, 2010). He has published in Comparative Politics, the Latin American Research Review, Qualitative Sociology, Latin American Politics and Society, and Studies in Comparative International Development.


Introduction. Conflict and governance patterns in Latin America and the Caribbean; 1. Constellations of governance: theoretical approaches to micro-level armed regimes; 2. Poverty, popular incorporation, and armed groups in Latin America and the Caribbean; 3. The structure of micro-level armed regimes; 4. Security systems in areas subject to micro-level armed regimes; 5. Armed groups, civil society, and social mobilization; 6. The impact of armed dominance on elections; 7. Policy process amid armed organizations; Conclusion. Things change (and they stay the same): understanding the politics of micro-level armed regimes; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781316607824
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 317
  • ID: 9781316607824
  • weight: 429
  • ISBN10: 1316607828

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