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Title: Silk Road mafias : the political economy of drugs and state-building in post-Soviet Tajikistan
Author: De Danieli, Filippo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 7874
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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This study looks at the role of drug-related mafias in Tajikistan -a country that has undergone a `double transition' as a result of the break up of the Soviet Union and a protracted civil war -, and examines why they emerged as political, economic and social actors after 1991 and how they influenced the processes of state breakdown and post conflict state-building. The existing literature on drug trafficking in Central Asia focuses almost exclusively on the connections between "criminal" and "terrorist" networks. This study, based upon field work conducted in Tajikstan between March-December 2007, critically challenges the arguments, concepts and assumptions that are usually associated with the "narcoterror" discourse. It seeks to adopt a broader historical, political economy perspective, and draws upon the growing literature on the role of non-state actors in shaping processes of state building. The study explores the complex interactions between transnational crime, shadow economy activities and the emerging political structures and institutions. It is argued that the negotiations between political actors and mafias over the control of resources are central to processes of state consolidation and state crises. The specificity of mafia, as a particular type of criminal organization, consists precisely in its ability to establish strategic partnerships with political elites. The expansion of mafias in Tajikistan has been shaped by a particular set of structural conditions and contingent events that can develop alongside modern state building process. Mafia-style organizations flourished in isolated and peripheral regions. In these areas central state elites were forced to mediate with local elites and former warlords so as to gain access to economic resources and build local legitimacy. Revenues from drug trafficking were central to this "conversation", and drug mafias fulfilled the role of mediating between central and peripheral elites. Mafias' disposition to make deals with the ruling elite has represented a key factor both for peace and post-conflict stability. Thus the case of Tajikistan shows that mafias are not an anti-state entity, and that, on the contrary, under certain conditions, they can actively contribute to political order
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available