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Sociology Colloquium Series: Javier Auyero, UT Austin

Uptown Campus
Newcomb Hall
119

The Ambivalent State. Collusion and Violence in Latin America

Drawing upon long-term ethnographic fieldwork in a poor high-crime neighborhood of Argentina and documentary evidence from court cases involving drug traffickers and police officers, this talk examines the clandestine connections between participants in the illicit drug trade and members of the state security forces -- and their impact on skyrocketing urban violence. The presentation unpacks the much-referred to (but seldom scrutinized) content of police-criminal collusion reconstructing the resources, relational practices, and processes at its core. The talk makes its three-fold argument  by way of empirical demonstration: a) illicit relationships between police agents and traffickers serve the latter to achieve a quasi-monopoly in the use of force over a territory that is central to the prosecution of their illegal trade, b) clandestine relationships between police officers and traffickers feed the systemic violence that characterizes the market of illegal drugs and contributes to localized violence, and c) police-trafficker collusion fosters widespread skepticism about law-enforcement among residents of low-income violent neighborhoods.

 

A Davis Washington Mitchell Lecture.