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Contraband cultures: ethnographically reframing smuggling across Latin America and the Caribbean 
Charles Beach (University College London)
Olivier Allard (EHESS)
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Charles Dolph (University College London)
Wednesday 24 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel aims to use ethnographic material and anthropological theory to reframe the concepts of contraband and smuggling in Latin America and the Caribbean, and reconnect these concepts with wider social processes and the cultures that bring them into being.

Long Abstract:

This panel aims to present ethnographic research that deals with narratives, representations, practices and imaginaries of smuggling and extra-legal or informal circulation practices, across and between the Latin American region (including the Caribbean) and its diasporas. Countering a fetishizing and hegemonic imaginary (typically stemming from the Global North) of smuggling activity in Latin America as chaotic, lawless, violent, and somehow ‘exotic’, this panel will aim to reframe such activities through the lenses of kinship, political movements, economic exchange, and resistance to capitalist state hegemony. The panel aims to combine ethnographic research that explores the efficacy and valence of ‘smuggling’ or ‘contraband’ as a lens onto modes of personhood, materiality, statehood, and political (dis)connection across Latin America.

Papers can include themes such as:

- Small scale trading economies, ‘blurred lines’ between informal and formal economies and the strategies of local agents within these

- Smuggling (or bootlegging, piracy, etc) as a force of cultural expansion

- Smuggling as a culture unto itself, or a mode of ‘being’

- Smuggling as a postcolonial phenomenon

- The art of ‘making do’, sobrevivir or inventar as part of everyday life

- Smuggling as a political or social movement, or an anti-capitalist movement, broadly understood

- Smuggling as subversion, challenge or extension of borders

- Smuggling as a response to state sovereignty within Latin America

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -