Illicit Flows and Criminal Things

Illicit Flows and Criminal Things

States, Borders, and the Other Side of Globalization
Edited by Willem van Schendel and Itty Abraham
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/04/2005
Format: Paperback 2 b&w photos, 6 maps, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21811-7
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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.

Author Bio

Willem van Schendel is Professor of Modern Asian History at the University of Amsterdam and head of the Asia Department of the International Institute of Social History. His publications include The Bengal Borderland: Beyond State and Nation in South Asia.

Itty Abraham is Director of the South Asia Institute and Associate Professor of Government and Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is author of The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb: Science, Secrecy, and the Postcolonial State and co-editor of Southeast Asian Diasporas.


“This thought-provoking collection explores how states, borders, and the language of law enforcement produce criminality, and how “illegal” people and goods move across regulatory spaces. Offers a new perspective on international relations, global security, and the worldwide circulation of people, things, and ideas. ”

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Making of Illicitness Itty Abraham and Willem van Schendel
1. Spaces of Engagement: How Borderlands, Illicit Flows, and Territorial States Interlock Willem van Schendel
2. The Rumor of Trafficking: Border Controls, Illegal Migration, and the Sovereignty of the Nation-State Diana Wong
3. Talking Like a State: Drugs, Borders, and the Language of Control Paul Gootenberg
4. "Here, Even Legislators Chew Them": Coca Leaves and Identity Politics in Northern Argentina Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
5. Seeing the State Like a Migrant: Why So Many Non-criminals Break Immigration Laws David Kyle and Christina A. Siracusa
6. Criminality and the Global Diamond Trade: A Methodological Case Study Ian Smillie
7. Small Arms, Cattle Raiding, and Borderlands: The Ilemi Triangle Kenneth I. Simala and Maurice Amutabi
Consolidated Bibliography