Security, Sovereignty and
Commentators have charted new pluralistic modes of governance beyond the State in the advanced liberal democracies, viewing them as produced and reproduced through cultural and political relations (1). These include new rationalities of rule and the cultural background, processes of institution and nation building that underpin these rationalities (2). This fluid picture of new forms of governance can appear chaotic but governance theorists have attempted to link the fragments within broader conceptions of governance—conceived as the attempts to shape human conduct—operating in mutually inter-penetrating ways at every level. These range from self/bodily governance all the way through to the operation of global institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations (3).
Notwithstanding this complexity, the analytic focus has been on governmental discourses operating “from above” through the activities of State public authorities, law and major corporations. They consist of the myriad ways in which populations and spaces are: investigated, classified and formulated as objects and concerns for government (4). This article will outline the shifts away from such modes of governing towards new forms of governance “from below”: beyond the State and ranging from commercial organisations and citizens’ initiatives through to what Western States deem as Jihadist and other forms of terrorism, and organised crime. The focus here is the influential thesis that the impact of globalisation has been to diminish the power of increasingly marketised States to govern their national spheres in the face of increasing appropriation of their functions by a variety of modes of governance from below (5). It will be argued that the dominant discourse, in making sense of these changes, has been the notion of State displacement. In this view, modes of “governance from below” fill a vacuum left by the retreat, or in some regions even collapse, of the State. This article, as a precursor to further conceptualisation and research, makes a modest start in mapping out, in broad-brush terms, the relations between governance from above and below.
Firstly, we trace the shift towards pluralistic modes of governance. Then we critically examine the displacement view and survey the growth of non-State governance. We argue that while certain forms of State governance are displaced, others are strengthened. There is a variety of emerging relations between governance from above and below, at local, regional, national and global levels. These involve non-State actors working both with and against the State. We then argue that the expansion of non-State governance should not be read as a “rolling back” of the State or filling in a vacuum left by this retreat. Rather, it involves a re-ordering (6) or re-articulation of relations between State and non-State actors. In particular, we argue that the legal role and authority of the State is expanding as part of new forms of governance which co-ordinate, or respond to, non-State actors. This emphasises the continued significance of the State and law as part of the struggle for sovereign control of population and territory. This reflects pressure not only from dominant economic interests, but also from less privileged interests “from below.”(7)
From Unitary State to Pluralistic Governance
Older models of power tended to assume that the nation State is a unitary actor attempting to monopolise the means of coercion in governing populations and territories (8). These theorisations were rooted in European political history. The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 brought to a close a long period of debilitating warfare and provided the basis of a mutual (if asymmetrical and capricious) guarantee between States of their rights to jurisdiction over their own populations and territories. It made possible the eventual alignment of nation and democracy (and more authoritarian polities) and a broadening agenda for public government to include fostering the health, wealth and military capacities of populations. This enhanced governmental agenda operated through the apparatus of law, security and national and local administration, and crystallised in 19th and 20th century nation building and modes of civic governance (9).
Following the Great Depression this belief in the State as the key political actor expanded, in the advanced Western democracies between the 1930s and 1970s, by faith in the ability of the Keynesian Welfare State to provide full employment and a protective shield of welfare citizenship (10). At its heart lay the actuarial notion that the risks of life be shared in the broad community of the nation: governing in the name of the social (11). Meanwhile for most of the period up until the early 1970s, the major powers locked into the Cold War competed for the allegiance of former colonial and underdeveloped countries of the global south. While models on offer differed between State socialism and Keynesian mixed economies, the shared project was that of reproducing globally what was being achieved domestically in the advanced economies of the global north, namely: economic stability, full employment and the integration of populations into frameworks of social citizenship and political compromise. What the advanced countries achieved by welfare and planned economic growth supervised by existing professional bureaucratic and business elites required, in poorer countries, the emergence of new modernising elites committed to rational planning and social integration. This would be combined with foreign aid and investment from the advanced countries to secure rising levels of indigenous economic growth (12).
The growing fiscal crises of welfare States in the 1970s and 1980s, combined with increasing global, cultural, political, and economic interdependence, together with mobility of capital and populations, resulted in diminishing public support for high tax and spend policies and an increasingly receptive climate for neo-liberal and neo-conservative critiques of the welfare State. There developed a growing expectation that risk-sharing communities be prudential, smaller and, where possible, stripped of those, like the poor, deemed to represent “high risk”(13). New Right administrations in the liberal democracies of the 1980s detached the loyalties of the reasonably affluent mainstream from alliance with the poor and tried to forge new modes of governance that would promote non-State, market solutions to meet human needs, introduce market disciplines into public services and privatise State services (14). Hence, the period since the mid 1970s has seen the gradual ascendancy of a neo-liberalism wedded, at least at first sight, to the “rolling back” or “retreat” of the State (15). This involved the reduction of public spending, and reduction of State regulation of economic and social processes.
With the international rise of the New Right from the 1980s, States appeared to retreat from “rowing” to a lesser project of “steering” economy and society leaving private business and finance to determine the progress of the economy, and private initiative to flourish in areas ranging from education, urban planning, health and welfare, conflict regulation and personal security (16). The key ingredient of neo-liberal political discourse was, on the surface, the transfer of responsibility, for a host of public goods, from the State to individuals, families and communities on the one hand and the market mechanism on the other. In this view, the State could provide no more than a minimal safety net, a set of core legal powers of coercion and regulation, deployed in various ways or even, in some cases, licensed to private agencies. This would provide a terrain in which non-State action, or “governance from below,” would take place. These policies encouraged entrepreneurship, public/private initiatives, and individual citizens, communally organised groups and commercial corporations to take greater responsibility for their security, health and well being, and rely increasingly on regulatory policies and agencies to police markets rather than assume direct State responsibility for the delivery of services and production of commodities (17).
This shift in conception of the proper role for central government and the growth of private forms of “self-regulation” also occurred on the international level (18). Through the disciplinary functions and control of credit provided by Western financed bodies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), during the 1980s and 90s poor countries, like poor urban communities within the advanced countries, were now regarded as to a considerable extent responsible for their own fate. This was so notwithstanding the devastation, famine and State collapse rampant in some areas. In the advanced countries the State could provide a minimum of legal and economic security but local urban communities must learn to develop cohesion and make themselves secure and attractive places for business investment (19). Likewise, poor countries must control such issues as corruption, violence, urban security and crime, to make themselves attractive places for international investment by trans-national corporations. The emphasis shifted from development and aid to security, the elimination of corruption and “good governance” in economic and social affairs (20).
Policing, for example, is seen as no longer a State
monopoly but involving a creative mix of statutory, commercial and
citizen mobilisation and action (21). These shifts in conceptions of
policing, manifested, for example, in the United Kingdom (UK) Police
Reform Act of 2002,(22) are also related to attempts to conceptualise
the varied forms of governance through notions of physical and human
security. Actors in multiple sites or nodes of governance try to
identify and guard against risks. While most of the focus has been on
processes within advanced societies, in principle this provides a
framework to describe and explain attempts to govern risks and
conflicts across borders, such as conflicts between warlords in failed
States and struggles over organised crime in trading illegal drugs,
immigrants, and armaments (23). Security is hence conceived of as a
hybrid combination of: a right, a commodity, and a public good. (24)
However, this has generated considerable debate.
Some theorists object to the notion that State and marketised provision
of security operate on the same competitive plane. Such a notion goes
beyond a purely analytic understanding of trends and provides further,
normative, intellectual weapons to commercial corporations pressuring
State governments to privatise public assets and services. The
contrasting view is that even if the State is not a simple unitary
actor, it remains, nevertheless a qualitatively different,
well-resourced and legally empowered sphere of institutions and
practices that still provide the most appropriate context for
understanding the complex field of governance relations. Hence, the
sovereign State remains the ultimate authorisation for other modes of
security. It remains the principal hope for maintaining or enhancing
the equitable distribution of security between rich and poor, and the
provision of public spaces where all can mingle and enjoy a shared
citizenship (25). The struggle for sovereign modes of security for
populations linked with territory, through the monopolisation of
coercive, authoritative force, is not a mechanistic function of the
central State, representing dominant interests. Rather, it is a set of
processes demanded from social groups from below as well as from above.
As such, the struggle for sovereignty could provide a replacement
discourse for the more open conception of governance as the struggle
for “security”. (26)
In addition, governance theorists have tended to over-focus on official policy texts and mechanisms at the expense of informal processes of governance. Linked with this is the argument that too much attention has been given to attempts to govern from above in the name of law and the State, at the expense of exploring the multiple forms of “governance from below.” For example, religious, age, ethnic, criminal and other bases of collective behaviour and communities of fate, kinship, location and interest, are involved in attempts to make sense of and govern their separate spheres. (27) These modes of governance from below can be involved in a range of relationships with official State and law based sites and strategies of governance, from incorporation and resistance to outright rebellion. This, in turn, implies shifts in the legal basis of governance; away from the centrality of State coercion through criminal law and war-making, towards a pluralism including greater emphasis on civil law of contract, property rights, combined with various types of “legality from below.”(28)
The Displacement Theory of Non-State Governance
Let us examine how sites and strategies of non-State governance from below work with and then against the State. The table below provides a provisional map of the range of relationships involved.
With the State
In the dominant narrative the growth of non-State governance fills the vacuum left by the retreating State. Some types of non-State governance do undertake tasks previously performed by the State, for example, with service activities such as health care or self-regulation in the maintenance of performance standards.(29) The State retains ultimate licensing power but private organisations can provide the service as well as (it is assumed) public bodies directly under State administration as with much of the traditional welfare State. However, they provide it on a different legal basis: commercial customer relations replace social citizenship rights, altering the character of the service.
In relation to policing, security and functions previously performed by
criminal justice agencies, the situation is more complex. Private
security companies, various types of Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) such as voluntary groups, charities together with “active
communities” such as residents or community groups, do not directly
substitute for public policing. Their legal authority is normally
restricted to civil powers deriving from control of access to private
property. A shift from State to private involves a shift in both the
legal basis and forms of governance. Thus if expenditure on public
police is reduced, and citizens assume a measure of responsibility for
their own self-protection, this, in richer countries especially, does
not necessarily involve the authority to replace the public police.
Rather, the wealthy move to private gated communities and travel to
well protected shopping malls, both fitted with high walls, strong
gates, CCTV and patrolled by private security guards (30). In the
sprawling urban areas of the global south and parts of the United
States (US) this has reached dramatic proportions (31).
Such security strategies inevitably reproduce the social fragmentation to which they are designed as a response. The retreat to fortified private space further undermines public citizenship space, consolidates the contrast between “bubbles” or nodes of security and wild zones between (32). Less fragmenting security strategies, with stronger emphasis on community participation, can be seen in community crime prevention partnerships which assembles police, social services, education, health, local businesses and community groups to devise crime and disorder reduction strategies adequate to their localities. Again, the emphasis in on prevention, an orientation built into the nature of the legal authority and legitimacy available to such groups (33). A final example is the growth of restorative justice and local dispute resolution schemes co-ordinated by NGOs such as, in the UK for example, Mediation UK, the National Council for Social Concern and the Howard League, alongside and partly displacing criminal justice agencies such as the probation service. These schemes may appear as emancipation from retributive and punitive aspects of criminal law though in fact may reproduce new forms of inequality (34).
Shearing and his collaborators in particular, in recent work, see this partial displacement of State by non-State governance as producing an “expanding archipelago of private governments” or “nodal security.” (35) In this view, the public police are simply one form of intervention and governance site among several, a view criticised for ignoring the distinct legal powers of the public police (36). However, this does not prevent criminal justice agencies subcontracting some elements of sovereign punitive constraint—such as electronic tagging of convicted offenders—to private agencies (37).
At the international level an important form of apparent State
displacement, can be seen through the rapid growth of NGOs as a major
vehicle for development aid to poor countries. This echoes similar
activities organised through private charity networks operating in
deprived urban areas of the advanced States. Their role has rapidly
expanded since the 1980s before which their focus was disaster relief.
Some international NGOs like Oxfam, War on Want, Save the Children,
Greenpeace, Médecins sans Frontières and the Red Cross operate across a
number of countries. Others are more localised. Their activities range
from disaster relief to the organisation of local self-help projects
aimed, for example, at community mobilisation, skills acquisition,
local co-operative and community development projects in poor
countries (38). Their frequent recourse to populist discourses of
empowerment, gender equality and “sustainable development” facilitate
their presentation as progressive agencies for change in the face of
collapsing and corrupt local State machines. As private voluntary
agencies, albeit in receipt of substantial funding from the governments
of advanced countries, they can, at first sight, be seen as a variant
of State displacement. They displace both local State structures which
often lack legitimacy and to some extent direct foreign assistance
provided by rich donor countries on a State to State basis (39).
NGOs may incorporate legal and security functions in
their activities. They may monitor State compliance with international
humanitarian law and act as advocates for policy changes (40). Where
State police and military are unreliable or even hostile, perhaps
captured by international criminal organisations or party to ethnic
conflicts resulting in State collapse, a concern for the security of
NGO personnel and the local communities within which they work is
unavoidable. Other well resourced organisations such as transnational
corporations operating in the area will have the resources to pay State
police and military, or provide their own private security to protect
their assets. In many cases the latter may be better equipped and
trained than local State forces (41). However, they have less
legitimacy in local communities as a source of security or protection.
Under such circumstances, the emergence of vigilante or warlord
groupings is likely (see below). On the basis of evidence from South
Africa and Argentina, Dupont, Grabovsky and Shearing suggest that NGOs
may act as co-ordinators, funders and activators to play a role in
setting up community based schemes that combine elements of the
community crime reduction partnership and restorative justice
models (42). These are conceived of as alternatives in poor countries
where the State is weak, corrupt or both.
While the type of agencies we have discussed above can, appear to be varieties of State displacement, in practice, they work with the State, may be licensed by it and compensate for its weaknesses, However, because such institutions do not have the legitimacy and legal authority of State institutions their activity is restricted to the areas of welfare and security. The latter is based on prevention, and at the most peacemaking and conflict mediation through restorative justice, rather than law enforcement. However, while States have not delegated their legal monopolies of coercive force downwards to NGOs, private or community organisations, they have delegated them, to some extent, “upwards.” While the US has so far been at best ambivalent in its approach to international criminal justice, there has been, among other countries, on the surface at least, recent progress. After the wars in Yugoslavia, a special International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established to try individuals allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the former Serbian head of State, Slobodan Milosevic. The culmination of this process was the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 to try cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes (43). The key move is that the protection of human rights is now considered more important than respect for the sovereignty of nation States and the distinction between the domestic affairs of a State and international relations between States established by the Treaty of Westphalia is modified and the precedent established that warfare can be treated as a form of crime (44).
Against the State
However, forms of governance, which develop with the agreement and
legal and political sanction of the State have not been the only forms
of displacement. Large deprived urban areas within the advanced
countries combine with devastated regions, and entire States, of the
global south to create spaces in which those involved in criminal
governance become increasingly important players. The conventional
narrative sees such non-State actors as organised crime, those deemed
by Western governments to be terrorist groups and warlords, as taking
advantage of the spaces left by this combination of socio-economic
decay and State retreat. This can be viewed as the dark side of State
We can make a rough distinction between two such groupings. Firstly, there are those groups whose main power base is the control of populations and territories in a specific area. These range from: networks mobilised on the basis of religion or ethnicity, urban gangs and criminal organisations in the slums and mega-cities in both northern and southern hemispheres,(46) through regional warlord regimes in Afghanistan, parts of Africa and Asia to highly politicised groups such as the IRA in Northern Ireland or Hezbollah in Lebanon. These aim at the defence and/or liberation of particular populations and territories from perceived external occupation and control. Secondly, there are those groups whose primary aim is global networking, either for trading and smuggling purposes, as with trafficking and the informal, or “shadow” global economies—which may be more important sources of income than legitimate economies (47) —or for the organisation of political goals as with those deemed to be terrorist networks. Neither group is entirely insulated from the other. Territorial control groups provide, for example, secure bases, raw materials, training camps, labour supply, to networkers who provide illegal arms and other resources to territorial rulers.
The traditional Sicilian Mafia remains the classic model of violent non-State governance of territory and population. Conventional wisdom on the origins of the Mafia views it as a variant of State displacement. In this, the conditions of eighteenth and nineteenth century Sicily enabled the Mafia, without ceasing in any way to engage in criminality and brutal violence, to substitute for a weak, distant legal authority and appropriate the roles of punishment, dispute mediation, the protection of powerful economic interests and the pacification of the poor. (48) Violence combined with enforcement of traditional norms. Many social groups supported or tolerated Mafia power as a “parallel legal order” to that of the State. The State “is only one institution among many, and there is no reason why its legal order should be regarded as superior.”(49)
The recent resurgence of warlord regimes in parts of the Balkans (for a time during the 1990s) in Afghanistan, and in parts of South Asia, Latin America and Africa is seen in much the same light. Such durable forms of criminal governance (50) are to be distinguished from simple criminal “entrepreneurs” out to profit from chaos and State collapse (51). The latter phenomenon is reflected in the anomie of short-term violence and social breakdown in deprived urban areas of the advanced countries. Disorganised rule by pure fear contrasts with structures of economic reward, loyalty, leadership skills, connections with legitimate elites and economies, etc., enjoyed by more stable groups ranging from urban mafias to rural warlords.
Regarding the economic base of such groups, much
media attention has been devoted to illegal diamonds (in particular
“blood diamonds” in Africa) and cocaine in Latin America. Both involve
de facto agreements between criminal and legitimate groups (coca
farmers, the guerrillas who protect them and diamond merchants) and in
both cases, such production cushions against poverty (52). Yet, such
shadow economies, particularly when associated with armed conflict, are
seen to result from the weakness of official economies. Much
“counter-governance” and finance provided by State and international
agencies are attempts to suppress such economies. These may include,
for example, crop substitution programmes, and banning the trading of
“conflict diamonds” on commodity exchanges. State regulation still
exists and is—at least formally—aimed at the suppression of these forms
of violent non-State governance, a fact which further sustains the
ideology of displacement. (53)
Meanwhile the growth of global trafficking groups and terrorist networks, such as Al Quaeda, displaces State-led territorial governance through the creation of virtual spaces; the spread of global urban diaspora communities whose political and cultural allegiances pass increasingly beyond the control of the territorial nation State.(54)
From Displacement to Re-Articulation
Yet, the displacement paradigm or perspective can be challenged. States withdraw from the provision of services and the government of terrain and other forms of governance displace them. However, a simplistic neo-liberal discourse which celebrates “good” displacement by private companies and laments “bad” displacement by criminal or violent organizations is misleading. Displacement is one side of a coin the other side of which is re-articulation, strengthening some forms of State governance, while displacing others. In recent work, one of us has developed the notion of the “debilitated authoritarian State,” which describes a two-fold development of State governance. The State has diminishing power in relation to international market pressures and its ability to meet significant electoral demands, changing the nature of politics and with implications for criminality. This is associated with increasingly authoritarian population management, involving new forms of governance and sovereignty, and new relations between private and public power.(55)
The State, in the advanced liberal democracies, becomes weaker from the standpoint of Keynesian Welfarism. It withdraws from large areas of traditional universalistic social provision aimed at care and integration of populations. Nevertheless, because growing social inequality and fragmentation accompanied this, both within the advanced democracies and throughout the global south, the State increases its activity in the sphere of legal and punitive regulation of social groups and activities defined as risks to security. Hence, welfarist policies become narrowly targeted to high-risk groups, and wholly or partly privatised, legitimised and driven by the accompanying discourse of self-responsibilisation. This “governing through crime and security” is not narrowly confined to security in the coercive sense but also involves a recoding of welfare governmental strategies in relation, for example, to the management of drug users under a heading more congenial to neo-liberal and neo-conservative politicians (56). This leads to a re-articulation of forms of rule. The relationship between State and non-State governance has to be seen from this perspective. This double movement, away from welfare and integration and towards legal constraint is one of the respects in which present regimes can be distinguished from various forms of authoritarian corporatism, which characterised Western Europe during the 1930s and 40s. This approach also contradicts simplistic notions of displacement or “rolling back” of the State.
The Incorporation of Non-State Governance
In a critical discussion of crime prevention policy in the UK, Crawford
criticises what we have termed the displacement paradigm noting that,
“much of the regulatory and governance literature tends to overstate
the direction and impact of recent trends and underplays its
politically ambiguous, contested and volatile nature.”(57) He notes
that the community crime prevention schemes discussed earlier, which
appeared to increase the scope for voluntary and citizen participation
in the local governance of crime, are increasingly constrained and
weighted down with central government performance targets such that
local agendas and community needs are marginalised. Thus, the new
public-private mix in crime control is less a displacement of the State
than a re-articulation and re-organisation of its powers through new
strategies. These incorporate many aspects of non-State governance into
projects co-ordinated and articulated by the State. Much non-State
governance from below becomes, in effect, an arm of the State.
An important clarification is in order when we move to the international sphere. The approach which views globalisation as a monolithic process of State weakening in the face of global mobility of capital and populations has been revealed as premature (58). We are returning to a multi-polar world of competition between strong States based on economies that are still national in key respects (59). Some States, mainly in the global south, have indeed become weak and near collapse in the face of global economic processes. However, others, including the US, but with the European Union and China catching up, have remained very strong indeed and more than capable of deploying considerable military and other forms of State power outside their own borders (60). This must be considered in examining NGOs, which, while they may function as forms of State displacement in the weak State areas where they operate, in the context of their origins and funding sources, they are amenable to the pressures of powerful State governments. Thus, “NGOs should be regarded as a product of deliberate State policies rather than as the natural outcome of State and market failure.” (61) Critiques of NGOs emphasise their depoliticising agendas: that their focus on self-help projects, notwithstanding commitment to a rhetoric of equality, development and human rights acts as a demobilising and depoliticising force for the poor. Their role is “to legitimize and sustain a changing world order (with global capitalism as its foundation) that holds no promise for the dominant majority of the global population.”(62)
Some NGOs pursue, in other words, a variant of the self-responsibilising agenda, which avoids confronting fundamental social conflict over the ownership and allocation of national resources managed by existing elites (63). This is built into their funding arrangements and their need to retain legitimacy in the eyes of the powerful States and the international institutions, such as the World Bank, under control of the latter (64). Similarly, Chandler (65) argues that there has been a decline in the independence of NGOs from State policy (of the strong States). The political process tends towards incorporation of NGOs, such that aid and relief is contingent upon acquiescence to the objectives of the strong States. These have shifted away from direct military aid to weak States towards direct interventions to change the behaviour of populations within such States through, for example, structural adjustment, privatisation and various types of “good governance” contracts. Such measures are better implemented by NGOs. In effect, the latter are pressured to become governance agencies of the donor States.(66)
Similar claims can be made about the emergent, so-called international criminal justice organisations such as the ICTY and the ICC. The ICTY, for example, was only able to try former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic because the US persuaded Serbia to deliver him in return for promises of aid. Undoubtedly, under similar pressure the tribunal refused to indict NATO itself for alleged violation of international human rights law through the bombing of Serbian civilians (67). Furthermore, as noted earlier, the ICC is compromised by the lack of recognition by the U.S., on the grounds that its national interests are threatened by the possibility that U.S. military or other personnel may be indicted. The international lawyer Phillipe Sands quotes U.S. sources portraying the ICC as undermining “the independence and flexibility that America needs to defend our national interests around the world.”(68) The US has meanwhile entered into a large number of bi-lateral agreements with countries (including the UK) to the effect that, usually in return for military aid, US personnel will not be indicted. Thus, humanitarian intervention, disregarding the sovereignty of individual States in the name of human rights becomes a de facto weapon in the arsenal of powerful States to pursue the interests of their ruling elites. This is graphically illustrated in the case of Iraq.
With and Against the State
Similar complications face the displacement view with regard to the various types of violent non-State governance discussed above. It is worth emphasising that even within a displacement perspective it is possible to admit that such phenomena as organised crime groups, once established in a community, are not entirely parasitic. As with the Sicilian Mafia, they provide pastoral and other services, and bring elements of order and dispute resolution. The role of criminal governance in the South African context has recently been explored in similar terms (69). That such activities may be a source of social stability and depoliticisation means that criminal groups can benefit communities in some respects. Resistance to coca or opium eradication programmes in various parts of the world shows the importance of these economies to the stability and survival of many local communities.
The emergence of criminal groups and warlord economies may sometimes reflect the weakness of the local State but at the same time the power and activity of such groups are sustained through their interaction with other powerful States and transnational companies. The situation is often one of mutual interchange in which both the criminal group and State gain advantages from collaboration or, at the very least, tolerance. In some Latin American urban areas elements of police and military may be co-opted to assist with tasks such as protecting drugs shipments and providing transport. Criminal groups may also involve the co-option of law enforcement as an agency in competition between criminal groups through selectively feeding information to the police, leading to the elimination of competitors. In such cases where large-scale drug trafficking is involved it may be difficult for the traffickers to operate without the collusion of State agencies. However, the latter are not simply “displaced” or co-opted because of their weakness. State agencies obtain positive benefits including information about other forms of crime. The police may “look the other way” with regard to certain activities in return for information and in order to maintain general peace in an area. Furthermore, drug traffickers as source of investment funds may help to stabilise the political order in a particular region (70). Meanwhile “shadow economies” of drugs, diamonds, and other smuggled resources are integrated into global legal economies such that they cannot be effectively distinguished as forms of “displacement”.(71)
This symbiotic relation between State and violent non-State actors
takes a more overt political form where criminal or warlord groups are
sustained by powerful States as agents of the foreign policy of the
latter. Agents of State power seeking to overthrow legitimate
governments directly and clandestinely may fund some guerrilla groups
operating in rural and increasingly in urban areas. As Mamdani
observes, after the Vietnam defeat the US attempted to use non-State
groups as agents of its foreign policy (72). This culminated in
Afghanistan with the CIA funding of Islamic Mujahadeen against the
Soviet backed regime, which produced, following the Soviet withdrawal
and the collapse of its client State, the current power of the Taliban
and regional warlords. Similarly, in Africa, powerful Western interests
have funded quasi-State structures and militias, often centring around
warlords, to protect important mineral resources such as diamonds,
wood, rubber and oil. Foreign multinationals concerned with oil,
diamonds, timber make direct deals with various warlords who, for
example, protect and secure exports in return for funding which enables
them to sustain their regimes and “criminal” activities (73). Finally,
the emergence of warlords, although a symptom of State collapse, may in
the long-term result in the emergence of a new proto-State. They may
become important stakeholders as the powerful States intervene. Thus,
for example, warlords became important stakeholders in the attempt to
construct a post-Taliban regime in Afghanistan(74). Several became
ministers in the Kabul government, helping to align rural with urban
State modes of governance.
Likewise, the IRA in urban areas of Northern Ireland ran welfare assistance as well as a violent punishment system during the height of its power (75). It compromised with State authorities, eventually abandoning its regime of non-State governance when its leaders saw the political conditions as favourable to the achievement of its goals by other, political means. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has substantial economic resources, runs elaborate welfare and education programmes in addition to independent military capacity in the south of the country. However, it also (currently) has ministers in the Lebanese government. As with Hamas in Palestine, the idea of a stable political settlement resulting in the establishment of new official State structures, which did not include these groups as key stakeholders, involves wishful-thinking.(76)
From De-Regulation to Re-Regulation?
Finally, in addition to re-articulating their relationship with non-State governance, States are increasing, rather than “rolling back,” many forms of legal-coercive regulatory intervention as a response to both domestic criminality and disorder and global terrorism and organised crime. Firstly, new legal and policing arrangements in troubled urban areas of richer countries have accompanied participatory forms of self-responsibilisation of individuals and communities (77). State doctrines of individual responsibility for community cohesion and crime control are buttressed with a battery of coercive legal powers to enforce such responsibility. Crawford notes the proliferation of various types of governance contracts such as parenting orders, and good behaviour contracts the violation of which may carry penalties in terms of loss of (residual) welfare benefits. These initiatives aim to foster work seeking behaviour. Meanwhile, forms of pre-emptive criminalisation aimed at anti-social behaviour and other forms of “pre-crime” in the UK have proliferated in the form of curfews for young people, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, dispersal orders, all involving increases in police and legal powers to regulate individual conduct (78). Similarly, attempts to combat network organised crime and political violence have resulted in expanding State coercive legal interventions, increasingly “emancipated” from long-held doctrines of due process and civil liberties and with debateable results (79). These overtly legal-coercive interventions can then merge into hitherto decentralised non-State forms of security and prevention when the latter are assimilated, as for example in anti-terrorist policy, to State-led forms of “urban resilience” and terrorist incident management (80). The result is the “increasingly volatile and contradictory nature of State regulation in the field of crime and security.”(81)
This paper has been an exercise in putting things in context. We have presented three main suggestions. Firstly, the need to challenge neo-liberal discourse about the growth of non-State governance as a liberating process of displacement of the State, and argue that the new mix of public-private is often part of a process of re-organising and re-articulating forms of governance that can take anti-democratic and authoritarian forms. This involves a range of forms and sites of non-State governance from below, some enrolled into the sphere of State activities. Secondly, this emphasises that the proliferation of forms of governance beyond the State does not displace the struggle for a sovereign monopoly of control of population and territory, the demand for which can come from below as well as from more privileged lobbies and interests. Thirdly, we have tried to bridge different literatures and academic disciplines and show in particular that debates about the relation between State and non-State governance while not wholly identical, or functionally interdependent in any simple sense, are replicated in both the domestic and international contexts.
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