1st Edition

Paramilitary Groups and the State under Globalization Political Violence, Elites, and Security

Edited By Jasmin Hristov, Jeb Sprague, Aaron Tauss Copyright 2022
    336 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    336 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the phenomenon of paramilitarism across Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, offering a nuanced perspective while identifying key patterns in the way paramilitary violence is implicated in processes of capital accumulation, state-building, and the reproduction of social power.

    Paramilitary violence, a key modality of coercion in the era of globalization, has been pursued by states and dominant classes in the Global South, to reproduce or extend their power over subaltern groups. Paramilitary groups are responsible for atrocities, including extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture, rape, and forced displacement. The book integrates empirically rich investigations into an emergent theory of political violence, capturing the relationship between parastatal armed actors, capital, and the state.

    The analysis sheds light on globally relevant phenomena such as the end of the Cold War, the shifting role of US hegemony, and evolving nature of the nation-state. The book is suitable for academics, graduate and upper-year undergraduate students, and policy-makers in development, human rights, and violence prevention. Given its interdisciplinary subject, it appeals to scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, political anthropology, development, peace and conflict, security and terrorism, international relations, and global studies.


    Jasmin Hristov, Laila Bushra, Jeb Sprague, and Aaron Tauss

    1. Theorizing Non-State Armed Actors in the Era of Economic Globalization: Beyond the Criminal and the Terrorist

    Jasmin Hristov and Laila Bushra

    Part One: Paramilitaries and Capital Accumulation

    2. The Pro-Business Effects of Paramilitary Terror in Colombia: Appreciating Different Types of Political Violence and Their Economic Impacts

    David Maher

    3. Paramilitarism in Progress: The War against Social Movements from Below in Honduras

    Jasmin Hristov and Karen Spring

    4. Institutionalized Terror: Paramilitaries and the Guatemalan State

    Simon Granovsky-Larsen

    5. Enforcing Accumulation in a Geo-Strategic Region: Paramilitaries in Oaxaca, Mexico

    Alessandro Morosin

    Part Two: The Struggle for the State: Paramilitarism as a Strategy of Movements from Above

    6. Transnational Paramilitary Connections: Right-wing Violence in Venezuela as a Strategy to Restore Political Hegemony

    Eva Golinger, Jasmin Hristov, and Aaron Tauss

    7. Conquering the Local Level: Connections and Frictions Between Local Governments and Paramilitaries in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Colombia

    Friedarike Santner

    8. Shifts in Coercion under Globalization: Lessons from Haiti's Restructuring in the Global Era

    Jeb Sprague

    9. Landowners, Politicians, and the Threat from Below: Emergence and Evolution of Paramilitary Groups in Chiapas, Mexico

    Julie Mazzei

    Part Three: Paramilitary Actors and State-Building

    10. US Support for "Civilian Defence" Paramilitaries in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Andrew Thomson

    11. Non-State Armed Actors and State-building: The Symbiotic Relationship between Paramilitary Forces and the State in Post-Soviet Georgia (1991-2012)

    Shukuko Koyama

    12. The Violent Roots of the New Elite: Serbian Paramilitaries in the Transition from Socialism to Capitalism

    Maria Vivod

    Part Four: Variations in Paramilitary Structure and Purpose

    13. Disturbing the Peace: Paramilitarism across Southeast Asia

    Shane J. Barter

    14. Paramilitary Groups and Civilian Self-Defense Force Mobilization in Peru

    Steven T. Zech

    15. God’s Vigilantes: Islamist Paramilitarism in Modern Pakistan

    Laila Bushra and Ali Khan


    Laila Bushra, Jasmin Hristov, Jeb Sprague, and Aaron Tauss


    Jasmin Hristov, PhD, is an assistant professor of sociology and development studies at the University of Guelph, Canada. Jasmin is the author of: Paramilitarism and Neoliberalism: Violent Systems of Capital Accumulation in Colombia and Beyond (2014) and Blood and Capital: the Paramilitarization of Colombia (2009). Her work includes refereed articles featured in Sociology of Development, Canadian Review of Sociology, Journal of Peasant Studies, Latin American Perspectives, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Labour, Capital and Society, Islamic Perspective: Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities and Social Justice as well as chapters in Gender and Development: the Economic Basis of Women’s Power (2019), Gendering Globalization, Globalizing Gender: Post-Colonial Perspectives (2020), and The Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies (2020). Jasmin is also the recipient of the Early Investigator Award (2019) from the Canadian Sociological Association.

    Jeb Sprague, PhD, is a lecturer at the University of California Los Angeles. Sprague is the author of Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti (2012) and Globalizing the Caribbean: Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class (2019).  He is also the editor of Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania (2016). His work includes refereed articles featured in Third World Quarterly, Journal of World-Systems Research, Research in Political Economy, Caribbean Studies, Monthly Review, and Current Perspectives in Social Theory. Jeb is a founding member of the Network for Critical Studies of Global Capitalism.

    Aaron Tauss, PhD, is an associate professor of international relations at the National University of Colombia, Medellin. Aaron is the editor of Sozial-ökologische Transformationen - Das Ende des Kapitalismus denken, VSA and a co-editor of ¿Pensar el fin del capitalismo? Escenarios y estrategias de transformación socioecológica, and Andere mögliche Welten? – Krise, Linksregierungen, populare Bewegungen: Eine lateinamerikanische-europäische Debatte. His publications are featured in Columbia Internacional, NACLA Report on the Americas, Prokla, Desafíos and Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik.