The Centre for the Study of Illicit Economies, Violence and Development (CIVAD) at SOAS, and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), are organising a series of six seminars which will bring together academics, students, policy makers and practitioners with an interest and engagement in questions of illicit economies, violence and development. 

Seminar 1: Frontiers, illicit flows and the geographies of uneven development (online)

This opening seminar discussed how the circulation of illicit flows (capital, commodities, people, ideas) shape and connect processes of (uneven) development within and across regions. Rethinking what is meant by key terms, it will took a systemic and structural look at how the world is changing, setting the agenda for the rest of the series.

Chair: Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS University of London)

Panelists: Michael Watts (University of California, Berkeley) and Dolly Kikon (University of Melbourne)

Date: 20th October 2022, 17:30-19.00 (GMT+01:00)

Watch a recording of the seminar here.

Seminar 2: Illicit economies, violence(s) and state formation in Latin America (online)

Chair: Jeff Garmany (University of Melbourne)

Speaker: Jenny Pearce (London School of Economics)

Date: 10th November 2022, 17:30-19.00 (GMT)

Venue: Zoom

Watch a recording of the seminar here.

Seminar 3: The everyday life of drugs: producers, dealers, consumers, enforcers (in-person)

This session, held in-person in London, showcased research on the everyday realities, perspectives and experiences of participants in illicit drug economies, and discussed the wider implications of everyday perspectives on drugs. How can the narrative frame around drugs shift to bring everyday life to the centre?

Chair: Maziyar Ghiabi (University of Exeter)

Panelists: Frances Thomson (University of Bradford); Neil Carrier (University of Bristol)

Discussant: Niamh Eastwood (Executive Director, Release)

Date: 8th December 2022, 17.30-20.00 (GMT)

Venue: SOAS – Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Watch a recording of the seminar here.

Seminar 4: Militias, coercive brokers and public authority (online)

This seminar explores the entanglements between para state armed groups (PAGs) illicit economies, organised crimes and formal politics. It challenges dominant narratives on PAGs, which see them as a temporary response to governance deficits, or as automatically apolitical and criminal actors. It discusses the role of PAGs as an embedded feature of many frontier regions, in which they act as ‘coercive brokers’ who mediate between different actors, scales and jurisdictions.

Chair: Jenny Pearce (London School of Economics)

Panelists: Francisco Gutiérrez Sanín (National University of Colombia) and Antonio Giustozzi (RUSI)  

Date: 12th January 2023, 17.30-19.00 (GMT)

Venue: Zoom

Watch a recording of the seminar here.

Seminar 5: Creating and implementing financial disruption strategies – successes and challenges. A UNODC perspective (online)

Chair: Heather Marquette (University of Birmingham and FCDO)

Speaker: Oliver Gadney (UNODC Global Programme Against Money Laundering)

Date: 7th February 2023, 17.30-19.00 (GMT)

Venue: Zoom

Watch a recording of the seminar here.

Seminar 6: Terrorism and illicit finance (online)

In 2019, the Security Council passed Resolution 2482, expressing ‘concern that terrorists can benefit from organized crime … as a source of financing or logistical support’. The resolution stressed the urgent need for research on the interlinkages that may exist between terrorism, organised crime and illicit finance. This reflected the growing international focus on the crime-terror nexus. This session will explore this nexus in practice including top-down responses alongside local efforts that harness local knowledge, local researchers and civil society.  

Chair: Emily Winterbotham (RUSI)

Panel: Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler (Counter Extremism Project); Dr. Keith Ditcham (Organised Crime and Policing, RUSI)

Date: 9th March 2023

Venue: Zoom

Watch a recording of the seminar here.