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Accepted Paper:

Policy franchising: global neoliberalism and the control of new illegalities in Latin America  
Jose Carlos G Aguiar (University of Leiden)

Paper short abstract:

In Latin America there is evidence on the 'diffusion', 'transfer' of state polices to halt crime and illegality. Zero-tolerance programmes and 'wars' mushroom, they have been 'franchised'. Based on ethnographic material gathered in Mexico and Paraguay, I introduce the term policy franchising.

Paper long abstract:

There is ambivalence in the nature of global neoliberalism. On the one hand, the emergence of international legal bodies and structures of global governance erodes the autonomy of the Nation-state, but at the same time, it withholds the state's monopoly over violence, and its supremacy for the maintenance of the rule of law. Regulations of global validity, like copyrights protection, engender new conflicts. Scholars have pointed out at the 'transfer', 'diffusion' of policies across nations in the context of global neoliberalism, that synchronises state programmes. Illegal actors are defined as anti-state actors, who threaten the very core of the nation state and global trade. In the case of Latin America, there is evidence on the implementation of state polices to halt crime and illegality based on the repressive hand of the state. Zero-tolerance programmes and 'wars' on drugs, piracy and delinquency mushroom, they have been 'franchised' all across the region. The 'fight on smuggling' between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and the 'war against piracy' in Mexico are relevant examples of this. Based on ethnographic material gathered in the San Juan de Dios market in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, with sellers of contraband and counterfeit, I introduce in this paper empirical ground to pose the term policy franchising, so as to discuss the transnational implementation of security policies that privilege the iron fist of the state and technology as mechanism of control. Yet, this model presents crucial limitations: its outcome is ambiguous, it defines state and 'illegal' actors as exclusive categories, and overlooks the local context in which they both are embedded.

Panel W092
Frontiers of 'legality' under neoliberalism: ethnographic explorations across shifting temporal and spatial scales
  Session 1