1st Edition

Crime, Violence, and Justice in Latin America

Edited By Carlos Solar, Carlos A. Pérez Ricart Copyright 2023
    282 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book asks why crime and violence persist in Latin America at extreme levels and why the states have not been able to more effectively solve this problem that dominates the lives of many millions of Latin Americans.

    Informed by diverse disciplinary backgrounds, the book brings together a team of regional experts to discuss research-based explanations on some of Latin America’s most pressing criminal and violent issues distressing the rule of law. First, it examines old and new forms of observing crime upon perpetrators and victimized communities. Second, it explores the geographies of urban and rural violence and the entangled politics following organized criminality. Third, it questions how the transfer of policy knowledge and expertise reshapes local security governance, and, more importantly, critically examines the problems in implementing foreign models and paradigms in the Latin American context. Finally, it exposes the everchanging scenario of policy-making and prosecuting crime and homicide.

    Crime, Violence, and Justice in Latin America provides new themes and novel trends on what crime and violence mean in the eyes of observers, perpetrators, policymakers, governmental officials, and victims. It is an important acquisition for policy makers and academics alike.

    1. Introduction: Crime, Violence, and Justice in Latin America

    Carlos Solar and Carlos A. Pérez Ricart

    Part 1. Logics of Crime

    2. Reflections on Youth, Norms, and Violence in Colombia’s Criminal Underworld

    Elena Butti

    3. Gangs and Criminal Governance in El Salvador

    José Miguel Cruz

    Part 2: Geographies of Violence: Urban and Rural Scenarios

    4. The War on Criminality in Rio de Janeiro: Pacifying Unruly Territories?

    Veronica F. Azzi

    5. Micro-dynamics and Political Economy of the Criminal War in Tierra Caliente, Mexico

    Raúl Zepeda Gil

    6. Organized Crime and Political Mobilization along Honduras’ Drug Routes

    Louis-Alexandre Berg

    Part 3: Circulation of Policy Knowledge

    7. Experts, Elites, and the Making of Safe Cities in Guatemala

    Markus Hochmüller

    8. Why does Colombia Export Security Expertise? Security Cooperation Between Status and Bureaucracy

    Jan Eijking

    9. Sí Ex-Militares, No Ex-Policías: Military Fetishism in Mexico’s Private Security Industry

    Logan Puck

    Part 4: Criminal Justice and Homicide Investigation

    10. Between Delegation and Strategic Defection: Police, the Judiciary, and the Politics of Criminal Investigation in Argentina

    Mariana Gutiérrez and Gabriel Costantino

    11. On Homicide Rates: Sketching an Analytical Framework from the Brazilian Case

    Gabriel Feltran

    12. CSI in the Tropics: Evaluating Team Coordination for Homicide Investigation in Bogotá, Colombia

    Daniela Collazos Zarate, Leopoldo Fergusson, Miguel Emilio La Rota, Daniel Mejia, and Daniel E. Ortega

    13. Final Remarks: Security in Latin America post COVID-19

    Carlos Solar and Carlos A. Pérez Ricart


    Carlos Solar is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology and a member of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Essex. Previously, he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Government and Governance of Security: The Politics of Organised Crime in Chile (Routledge, 2018). His recent publications have appeared in Current Sociology, Journal of Cyber Policy, Journal of Strategic Studies, International Politics, British Politics, Latin American Policy, Policy Studies, Peace Review, Politics and Policy, Democracy and Security, and Global Crime, among other journals.

    Carlos A. Pérez Ricart is an assistant professor at the Department of International Studies at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Contemporary History and Public Policy of Mexico at the University of Oxford. His recent publications include peer-reviewed articles in Global Governance, Foro Internacional, The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, and "US pressure and Mexican anti-drug efforts from 1940 to 1980", in Beyond the Drug War in Mexico: Human rights, the Public Sphere and Justice (Routledge, 2018).

    "This excellent book offers a timely and insightful discussion of contemporary conditions in the realm of public security in Latin America. The collection of well-thought, multidisciplinary essays, based on solid field work, provides readers with an encompassing account of topics including new forms of urban and rural violence, security governance, and the rule of law. The book's transnational approach represents an innovation in public security studies, which broadens our perspective on existing debates. A must read for scholars and policymakers grappling with one of the most pressing challenges confronting Latin American societies."

    Andreas E. Feldmann, University of Illinois Chicago

    "Crime, Violence and Justice in Latin America brings together an interdisciplinary team of scholars who offer profound insights into the logic of violence across some of the most insecure contexts throughout Latin America. From distinct and renewed points of view, each author carefully disaggregates the intricate interactions between the different actors that comprise the state, the criminal underworld, and the citizenry. The book is particularly unique in its analysis of the policy approaches that Latin Americans have experimented with to address crime. Academics and policymakers alike will benefit from the novel analytical frameworks the volume offers to unpack the complex phenomena surrounding criminal activity, as well as the rich information this volume offers in each chapter."

    Sandra Ley, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)