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Resisting Protection: Rackets, Resistance and State Building

Sat, September 1, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hynes, 210

Abstract

The state occupies a central place in the study of a range of political, economic, and social outcomes. This article brings into dialogue literature on the state and emerging research on criminal politics through a study of protection rackets. Conceiving of criminal protection rackets as institutional arrangements of extraction and domination, I develop a political economy framework to explain variation in forms of resistance to rackets. The framework shows that distinct configurations of economic and political resources influence the type of resistance available to subordinates. I illustrate the framework’s utility using micro-level data on resistance to rackets in Latin America. Attention to how resource endowments shape patterns of resistance to projects of extraction and domination provides a novel window into the bottom-up dynamics of state building.

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