Renate Bridenthal, ed.
The Hidden History of Crime, Corruption, and States
Berghahn Books 2017
Renowned historical sociologist Charles Tilly wrote many years ago that “banditry, piracy, gangland rivalry, policing, and war-making all belong on the same continuum.” This volume pursues the idea by revealing how lawbreakers and lawmakers have related to one another on the shadowy terrains of power over wide stretches of time and space. Illicit activities and forces have been more important in state building and state maintenance than conventional histories have acknowledged. Covering vast chronological and global terrain, this book traces the contested and often overlapping boundaries between these practices in such very different polities as the pre-modern city-states of Europe, the modern nation-states of France and Japan, the imperial power of Britain in India and North America, Africa’s and Southeast Asia’s postcolonial states, and the emerging postmodern regional entity of the Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, the contemporary explosion of transnational crime raises the question of whether or not the relationship of illicit to licit practices may be mutating once more, leading to new political forms beyond the nation-state