Illicit Drugs and Organized Crime in Latin America: New Scholarship and the Future of Alternative Policies
Illicit drugs have long affected public security, social relations, and politics in Latin America. Until recently, the analysis of illicit drugs primarily focused on Colombia and, to some extent, Mexico, and most scholarship was policy-oriented, dealing with the influence of the US and the Global Drug Prohibition Regime. In recent years, the scholarship has expanded its theoretical and methodological approaches as well as its geographical scope. This chapter analyzes key contributions emerging from new research: the mapping of the political, social, and economic constellations of actors and discourses that sustain policies related to illicit drugs; the critical revision of certain assumptions, fostering a more nuanced understanding of the multiple social and political relations involved in illicit drug markets; and greater attention to how illicit and licit actors relate, including unpacking the links between state actors and criminal groups.
Patrick Sharkey, Max Besbris, and Michael Friedson
This article examines theory and evidence on the association between poverty and crime at both the individual and community levels. It begins with a review of the literature on individual- or family-level poverty and crime, followed by a discussion at the level of the neighborhood or community. The research under consideration focuses on criminal activity and violent behavior, using self-reports or official records of violent offenses (homicide, assault, rape), property crime (burglary, theft, vandalism), and in some cases delinquency or victimization. The article concludes by highlighting three shifts of thinking about the relationship between poverty and crime, including a shift away from a focus on individual motivations and toward a focus on situations that make crime more or less likely.