Crime and Power: The Filter of Social Order

38 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Sep 2010

See all articles by Gustavo Duncan

Gustavo Duncan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2010


In this paper I advance an explanation of the social origins of cocaine trafficking in Colombia in which two thresholds are distinguish. The first threshold occurs when the knowledge and the willingness for a specific criminal activity reproduce faster than the enforcement capacity of the authorities, and the second one, at a more advanced stage of diffusion of crime in society, when the state is forced to consider the political demands of criminal organizations. This explanation aims to explore an aspect of crime that is usually neglected by the specialized literature: the role of crime in the political structure and eventually in the process of state making. My argument here is that in order to acquire political power crime has to experience a process of diffusion into the social order to the extent of redefining the relationships, the values, and the hierarchies of a large part of the society.

Keywords: Crime, State-making, Colombia, drug trafficking

Suggested Citation

Duncan, Gustavo, Crime and Power: The Filter of Social Order (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Gustavo Duncan (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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