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Smugglers and states: illegal trade in the political settlements of North Africa

Gallien, Max (2020) Smugglers and states: illegal trade in the political settlements of North Africa. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This project explores the political economy of informal and illegal cross-border trade in North Africa, focusing in particular on Tunisia’s border with Libya, and Morocco’s North-East bordering Algeria and the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Based on extensive fieldwork, the project traces the informal institutions that regulate smuggling across the region, examines the resulting rent streams, and analyses their relationship to the region’s states through a political settlement framework. Following shifts in the domestic politics of Tunisia and Morocco as well as the regional border infrastructure, the project also traces the recent re-negotiation of the role of smuggling in the region. It argues that contrary to common assumptions, smuggling rarely occurs 'under the radar' of the state, but is instead embedded in a tight network of institutional regulation in which the regions' states play a key role. Furthermore, rather than subverting states, smuggling activities are a central feature of the region’s political settlements. The project highlights that the ability of different groups to navigate and negotiate the terms of their inclusion into these settlements is highly uneven, posing serious challenges for borderland populations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Max Gallien
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Sidel, John T. and Meagher, Kate

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