CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Criminal Leviathans: How Gangs Govern, Organize Crime, and Threaten the State from Behind Bars

March 17th, 2021
12 noon

Criminal Leviathans: How Gangs Govern, Organize Crime, and Threaten the State from Behind Bars
Dr. Ben Lessing – University of Chicago
Register here: Zoom Registration

From Brazil to El Salvador, prison gangs have transformed the state‘€™s disciplinary institutions into headquarters for building drug empires, organizing street crime, and orchestrating terrorist attacks capable of bringing the state to heel. At the same time, they govern‘€“providing order and physical safety for millions of low-income residents across vast informal peripheries neglected by governments. The fruit of decades of resorting to repressive strategies to address underlying social problems, these criminal shadow-governments simultaneously defy and undergird the neoliberal state, in the process creating a stubborn specter of non-state authority. Dr. Lessing analyzes the Primer Comando de Capital in Brazil and find that the PCC’s monopoly in São Paulo is not a “natural” one, but rather supported, if inadvertently, by state policy.

This is the second lecture in CIPR’s Spring Series: Citizens & Politics: The Changing Nature of Parties, Participation, and Linkages

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