Contested State Formation? The Effect of Illicit Economies in the Margins of the State

Contested State Formation? The Effect of Illicit Economies in the Margins of the State The influence of illegal economies on local order is at the center of this thesis. This dissertation examines the conventional explanation of state weakness through illegal activities. By analyzing the interplay...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Heuser, Christoph
Contributors: Bonacker, Thorsten (Prof. Dr.) (Thesis advisor)
Format: Dissertation
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2017
Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
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Summary:Contested State Formation? The Effect of Illicit Economies in the Margins of the State The influence of illegal economies on local order is at the center of this thesis. This dissertation examines the conventional explanation of state weakness through illegal activities. By analyzing the interplay between local order in the margins of state influence and illegal economies, the present study aims to close the research gap of the widespread assumption that these economies lead to instability and violence. The work shows that illegal economies contribute to the development of stable local orders instead of destroying them. The dissertation focuses on regions with little or no state influence. The analysis follows a structured, focused comparison of two regions in Peru: VRAEM and Alto Huallaga. With a case study on the VRAEM region in Peru, the work analyses the current impact of the drug business on the local order. The Alto Huallaga region is the historical center of global cocaine production and is presented by the Peruvian government as a showcase for a successful transition of a drug economy. By comparing a current center for drug production with a former one, this thesis develops an understanding of the influence of illegal economies on local orders. During extensive field research, qualitative data was collected and 120 interviews, as well as 124 theory-based written surveys, were conducted. The analysis shows that the drug economy plays a significant role in the development of local order, especially in the areas of the economy, security and power structures. These local orders are stable in themselves but do not follow the normative understanding of the state. The study shows that illicit economies have a stabilizing effect instead of posing a direct threat to the state. The dissertation thus makes a research contribution to studies on state development which is independent of a Eurocentric understanding of norms and local order.
Physical Description:334 Pages
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/z2020.0054