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Gangster States

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1.1 Secret Vices 1.2 What is Organized Crime? 1.3 Evolutionary Stable Strategies 1.4 Case Study: Post-Soviet Russia 1.5 Gangs as Primitive States 1.6 Collapse and Regeneration 1.7 Darwinian Political Economy 2. What is Organized Crime? 2.1 Formal Verses Informal Economies 2.2 Organized Crime as Racketeering 2.3 Descriptive Vignette: Camorra 2.4 The Organization of Crime 2.5 Racketeering in Prison Economies 2.6 The Organization of a Stateless Campus Economy 2.7 Labor Rackets 2.8 Gambling Rackets 2.9 Prohibition 3. Failing Economics 3.1 Contaminated Markets 3.2 The Cold War in Economic Thinking 3.3 The Road to Friedmanistan 3.4 Experimental Vignette: The Other Invisible Hand 4. The Evolution of Racketeering 4.1 Behavioral Economics Meets Behavioral Ecology 4.2 Evolutionary Stable Strategies 4.3 Cheating and Systemic Complexity 4.4 Racketeering as an Evolutionary Stable Strategy 4.5 ESS Thinking: Farming and Raiding 4.6 From Raiding to Protection Rackets 4.7 Supply and Demand 4.8 The Geography of Protection 4.9 Narrative Vignette: Raiding and Trading on the Steppes 5. Organized Crime and Kleptocracy 5.1 From Gangs to Primitive States 5.2 The Underworld as Prehistory 5.3 Territoriality, Leadership, Violence 5.4 Prehistoric Gangster-States 5.5 Early European Gangster-States 5.6 Mafia Branding: The Exquisite Corpse 5.7 Narrative Vignette: Under the Cartels 5.8 The Gangsterization of Democracy 5.9 Scenes from a Kleptocracy 5.10 Cuba Case Study 5.11 Comparative Vignettes 5.12 Hispanola 5.13 Haiti 5.14 Zaire 5.15. Post-Soviet Gangster-States 5.16 Narrative Vignette: After the USSR 5.17 Post Script: American Exceptionalism? 6. Things Fall Apart...and Rebuild 6.1 Collapse as Conundrum 6.2 Progress and Underdevelopment 6.3 The State as Exaptation 6.4 Secondary State Formation in Prehistory 6.5 Collapse and Regeneration 6.6 Grey Zones and Demapping 6.7 Yugoslavia/Bosnia 6.8 USSR/Moldova/Transnistria 7. Darwinian Political Economy 7.1 Research Redux 7.2 Evolutionary Stable Strategies 7.3 Darwinian Political Economy

Promotional Information

"Gangster States is a gem, an intellectually exhilarating synthesis of political anthropology, political economy, and Darwinian evolutionary theory. The result is a concise, elegant argument that makes the scales drop from our eyes, regarding not only gangs like the Mafia and Mexican drug cartels, but the origins of the state, the vulnerability of democracies to racketeering, and the relentless reemergence of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. In effect we go from gang to state and back again. In place of the partial approaches of neoliberal economics and conventional political anthropology, Hirschfeld offers a comprehensive and powerful new theory of organized politics as organized crime. It is a theory we ignore at our peril." (Melvin Konner, Emory University, USA)

About the Author

Katherine Hirschfeld is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, USA. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Emory University in 2001. Her research interests include the political economy of health, disease ecology and post-Soviet transitions. Among her previous publications figures the monograph Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba since 1898 (2007).


"Hirschfeld ... has produced a gem of a work that is both multidisciplinary in its approach and intellectually seductive. Within the context of traditional organized crime studies, its amoral analytics may be viewed as highly disruptive-almost heretical-in nature. Contrarian and well executed works such as this should be greatly valued for their `out of the box' perspectives and ability to shake up what can at times become an insular and dogmatic discipline." (Robert J. Bunker, Trends in Organized Crime, June, 2016) "This innovative and engaging book provides ananthropologist's assessment of some of the problems besetting much of the developing world." - Robert I. Rotberg, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 2015, 49(6)

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