Power and Illicit Drugs in the Global South: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Power and Illicit Drugs in the Global South

1st Edition

Edited by Maziyar Ghiabi


200 pages

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Hardback: 9781138323544
pub: 2018-10-09

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More than a hundred years have passed since the adoption of the first prohibitionist laws on drugs. Increasingly, the edifice of international drug control and laws is vacillating under pressures of reform. Scholarship on drugs history and policy has had a tendency to look at the issue mostly in the Western hemisphere of the globe or to privilege Western narratives of drugs and drugs policy. This volume instead turns this approach upside down and makes an intellectual attempt to redefine the subject of drugs in the Global South. Opium, heroin, cannabis, hashish, methamphetamines and khat are among the drugs discussed in the contributions to the volume, which spans from Sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, including the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent. The volume also makes a powerful case for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of drugs by juxtaposing the work of historians, political scientists, geographers, anthropologists and criminologists. Ultimately, this edited volume is a rich and diverse collection of new case studies, which opens up venues for further research.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Decolonising drug studies in an era of predatory accumulation Philippe Bourgois

1. Introduction:Spirit and being: interdisciplinary reflections on drugs across history and politics Maziyar Ghiabi

Part I: Genealogies of Drugs

2. Decolonising drugs in Asia: the case of cocaine in colonial India James Mills

3. A diplomatic failure: the Mexican role in the demise of the 1940 Reglamento Federal de Toxicomanías Isaac Campos

4. Drugs of choice, drugs of change: Egyptian consumption habits since the 1920s Philip Robins

Part II: Ethnographies of Drugs

5. Drug booms and busts: poverty and prosperity in a Nicaraguan narco-barrio Dennis Rodgers

6. Maintaining disorder: the micropolitics of drugs policy in Iran Maziyar Ghiabi

7. ‘We Will Revive’: addiction, spiritual warfare, and recovery in Latin America’s cocaine production zone Pablo Seward Delaporte

Part III: Comparative Perspectives on Drug Wars

8. Fighting crime and maintaining order: shared worldviews of civilian and military elites in Brazil and Mexico Anaís M. Passos

9. Turning deserts into flowers: settlement and poppy cultivation in southwest Afghanistan David Mansfield

10. Quasilegality: khat, cannabis and Africa’s drug laws Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig

11. Why do South-east Asian states choose to suppress opium? A cross-case comparison James Windle

About the Editor

Maziyar Ghiabi is Lecturer in Modern Iranian History at the University of Oxford, UK, and Titular Fellow at Wadham College, University of Oxford. Prior to this position, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Paris School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS), France, and a member of the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire des Enjeux Sociaux (IRIS), France. Maziyar obtained his Doctorate in Politics at the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College) where he was a Wellcome Trust Scholar in Society and Ethics (2013–2017). Besides working on drug policy, Maziyar has published on urban ethnography and history from below.

About the Series


THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.

THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General