Rethinking Insurgency: Criminality, Spirituality, and Societal Warfare in the Americas

Document Type



Politics and Economics (CGU)

Publication Date



Defense and Security Studies | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Driven by globalization, Internet communications technology (ICT), and new economic forms the nature of states may be changing. Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) – including what are commonly known as cartels – are early adopters to the new political/economic landscape. In addition to seeking to rule the illicit economy, criminal actors (networked cartels and gangs) are challenging states through high-order violence and leveraging nascent social/spiritual movements (narcocultura) to potentially usher in a new political dynamic. These violent non-state actors (criminal soldiers) are insurgent actors. They are waging new forms of insurgency – criminal and possibly spiritual – that have the potential to reconfigure states.

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© 2011 Taylor and Francis

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