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Parastatal activity and frontier violence: the rise of coercive brokerage and a shifting global order
5 July 2021│1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Bringing together academic colleagues from across the globe to explore research ideas on how best to understand parastatal and criminal armed groups in the contemporary moment, and what they can tell us about broader development and statebuilding processes.
The workshop arose through empirical findings from our research in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Myanmar, where parastatal organisations – militias and paramilitaries – have been central to everyday social, political, and economic life in borderland regions. These findings chimed with the project team’s broader awareness about the widespread and persistent nature of these actors in places we might not expect such as the United States or Eastern Europe, and the ways that they are able to influence how states and markets function.
The workshop discussion focused on some of the key theoretical and methodological tensions at the heart of understanding parastatal groups, such as how they relate to states, or what kinds of violence emerge as a result of parastatal forms of governance, how illicit markets feature in parastatal areas of governance, or the ways that parastatal groups relate to populations and communities.
One of the important ‘takeaways’ from the workshop was that studying parastatal groups can help us to understand some of the important shifts in the global political economic order that are underway today.