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    Modes of governance and the everyday lives of illicit drug producers in Afghanistan

    Koehler, J. and Bhatia, Jasmine and Moosakhel, G.R. (2022) Modes of governance and the everyday lives of illicit drug producers in Afghanistan. Third World Quarterly 43 (11), pp. 2597-2617. ISSN 0143-6597.

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    Prevailing studies on illicit drug economies in violent contexts are typically concerned with whether illicit drugs are a driver of insecurity, or vice versa. This paper provides additional nuance to the literature by considering the interaction between different governance arrangements with the everyday life of people involved in the drug economy. Drawing from a systems-lifeworlds approach, we present evidence from interviews and life histories collected in four district case studies in two borderland provinces of Afghanistan. We find that governance in government-controlled areas tends to be more fragmented, negatively affecting the livelihoods of small-scale drug producers and traders. However, we also find exceptions to this trend, where stable governance arrangements emerged under state control. While authority tends to be less fragmented in Taliban-controlled districts, illicit drug producers fared much worse under Daesh-rule, showing stark variation in the effects of insurgency rule on the drug economy. Contrary to prevailing assumptions that participants in the illicit drug economies thrive in ungoverned environments, our findings show that there is considerable, if selective, demand for predictable rule-based political authority, albeit pragmatic enough to allow an open-access illicit drug economy to operate.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Jasmine Bhatia
    Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 12:36
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:14


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