Sovereignty and Illicit Social Order: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sovereignty and Illicit Social Order

1st Edition

By Christopher Marc Lilyblad


328 pages | 26 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367425203
pub: 2020-06-06
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This book demonstrates how illicit social orders (established by gangs, terrorists, mafias, rebels, or other insurgent forces) arise from competition over territory, authority, and institutions in local arenas; and assesses their sobering implications for modern, national state sovereignty from the analytical vantage of global governance.

In a world where sovereignty remains the foundational principle for international order, territories ruled by gangs, mafias, rebels, terrorists, and other insurgent forces tend to be viewed as blanks on our cartographic and mental maps of global governance. Countering this narrative, Lilyblad argues that while ‘illicit social orders’ may not conform to the way we think our world should be governed, they actually make up a substantial part of how it is governed. This book offers a thorough account of the processes and inner workings through which illicit social orders develop and ipso facto contest sovereignty.

By showing how these inherently local illicit orders form part of a broader, diffuse mosaic of social, political, and economic structures within global society, this book will be of interest to a wide range of scholars, including political scientists, sociologists, geographers, as well as interdisciplinary social science fields, including International Development, International Political Sociology, International Political Economy, and Global Governance.


"A rare combination of theoretical acumen and empirical perspective. Not everyone can spend years theorizing licit and illicit governance at various territorial levels, tracing the history of their emergence in a country like Brazil, and travel to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to investigate further. But everyone can read this book." – Jörg Friedrichs, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Oxford, UK.

"States established themselves as sovereign in competition with other polities, and the fight is still on. By writing this ‘state building meets Brazilian favela politics’ book, Lilyblad has done both parties a great service." – Iver B. Neumann, author of Governing the Global Polity.

Table of Contents

Part I – Introduction

1.Modernity and the Global Framework of Sovereignty

Part II – Conceptual and Theoretical Framework

2.Sovereignty, Territory, and Debordering

3.The Constitution of Illicit Authority

4.The Institutionalization of Illicit Social Order

Part III – Empirical Investigation of Illicit Social Order

5.Globalization and Localized Fragility in Brazil

6.Territory and Organized Violence

7.Socioeconomic Resources: Protection, Acquisition, and Provision

8.Social Legitimacy: Collective Identity and Ontological Security

9.Social Order: Co-constitution of Authority and Institutions

Part IV – Conclusion

10.Illicit Social Order and Global Governance

About the Author

Dr Christopher Marc Lilyblad is a scholar and policy advisor in global governance and development. Currently serving as a program specialist for policy and strategy with the United Nations Development Program, he previously held research appointments at Harvard University, Oxford's Changing Character of War Centre, and the European Council on Foreign Relations. As a development practitioner, he has also served in managerial and advisory roles with the development services of the European Union and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. His research has featured in several chapters of the edited volume Reducing Armed Violence with NGO Governance, the journal Territory, Politics, Governance, and the Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations. Christopher holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, where he attended as a Clarendon Scholar and concurrently held the Peter J. Braam scholarship in International Development at Merton College.

About the Series

Global Governance

Global Governance

Global Governance

Series Editor: John J. Kirton, University of Toronto, Canada

Global governance is growing rapidly to meet the compounding challenges of a globalized 21st-century world. Many issues once dealt with largely at the local, national or regional level are now going global, in the economic, social and political-security domains. In response, new and renewed intergovernmental institutions are arising and adapting, multilevel governance is expanding, and sub-national actors are playing a greater role, and create complex combinations and private-partnerships to this end.

This series focuses on the new dynamics of global governance in the 21st century by:

  • Addressing the changes in the structure, operation and impact of individual intergovernmental institutions, above all their innovative responses to the growing global challenges they confront.
  • Exploring how they affect, are affected by and relate to non-state actors of global relevance and reach.
  • Examining the processes of cooperation, competition and convergence among international institutions and the many global governance gaps where global challenges such as terrorism, transnational crime and energy do not confront powerful international institutions devoted to their control.
  • Dealing with how global institutions govern the links among key issues such as climate change and health.

In all cases, it focuses on the central questions of how global governance institutions and processes generate the effective, legitimate, accountable results required to govern today’s interconnected, complex, uncertain and crisis-ridden world.

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