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Koehler, Jan, Bhatia, Jasmine and Rasool Mosakhel, Ghulam (2022) 'Modes of governance and the everyday lives of illicit drug producers in Afghanistan.' Third World Quarterly, 43 (11). pp. 2597-2617.

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Prevailing studies on illicit drug economies in violent contexts are typically concerned with whether illicit drugs are a driver of insecurity, or vice versa. This paper provides additional nuance to the literature by considering the interaction between different governance arrangements and the everyday life of people involved in the drug economy. Drawing from a systems-lifeworlds approach, we present evidence from interviews and life histories collected in four district case studies in two borderland provinces of Afghanistan. We find that governance in government-controlled areas tends to be more fragmented, negatively affecting the livelihoods of small-scale drug producers and traders. However, we also find exceptions to this trend, where stable governance arrangements emerged under state control. While authority tends to be less fragmented in Taliban-controlled districts, illicit drug producers fared much worse under Daesh rule, showing stark variation in the effects of insurgency rule on the drug economy. Contrary to prevailing assumptions that participants in the illicit drug economies thrive in ungoverned environments, our findings show that there is considerable, if selective, demand for predictable rule-based political authority, albeit pragmatic enough to allow an open-access illicit drug economy to operate.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Afghanistan, illicit drugs, statebuilding, governance, insurgency, livelihoods and sustainability
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 04136597
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2022 11:32
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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