Mar 17, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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

If you missed the first lecture or would like to re-watch it, a link to the video is available here:

Left Parties, Weak Courts, and Women Justices in Latin America by Dr. Anibal Pérez-Liñan