Lecture image placeholder

Premium content

Access to this content requires a subscription. You must be a premium user to view this content.

Monthly subscription - $9.99Pay per view - $4.99Access through your institutionLogin with Underline account
Need help?
Contact us
Lecture placeholder background
VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/8vrm-hm98

technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Woven Strands: Crime, Capitalism and the State





At a time of rising crime and processes of criminalization around the world, it is especially important to consider what role crime plays for economic growth and state apparatuses. It has been argued that criminal networks represent an attack to neoliberal policies and to the capacity of the State to enact good governance practices (Vaishnav 2017). Yet, anthropological studies of crime have moved away from narrow definitions of criminal organizations as autonomous, internally cohesive, and bounded systems (Dua 2019; Michelutti et al. 2019; Schneider 2018; Ben-Yehoyada 2018). Scholarship has rather encouraged us to take seriously how crime works in coalition with rapid economic growth (Blok 1974; Schneider and Schneider 1976, 2003; Kaplan and Dubro 2012) and strengthening state institutions (Chubb 1982; Arlacchi 1986; Lupo 2009; Levien 2021). However, the question of how and through what kinds of relations crime, state and capital are being intertwined in worldly encounters is still open and deserves further attention. Without an adequate analysis of how informal, criminal networks actually permeate the formal realms of state and capital, we overlook the inner workings and exacerbating inequalities that continue to make these entwined coalitions possible. This panel addresses these issues by considering the social embeddedness of crime, to illuminate the complex relations among the actors who occupy the intertwined realms of crime, state and business. We build on anthropological studies of Italian mafia that have pointed to the relevance of the concept of intreccio (interweaving), literally a “plaited hairdo of tightly woven braids” (Schneider 2018: 16), to grasp the entanglements between crime and the social contexts in which it operates (Volkov 2002; Jaffe 2013; Civico 2015; Ben-Yehoyada 2018; Michelutti et al. 2019; Harris-White and Michelutti 2019;). The panel examines intreccio as made of multiple encounters, borrowing various terms of relatedness, to highlight relations of inequality, coercion, intimacy and ethical conduct. The panel’s papers address omertà, the so-called code of silence associated with the Sicilian Mafia, and the several strands that render it a powerful force in Sicily; the criminalization of various forms of brotherhood in Sicily; the capitalization of cattle rustling in the Indian state of Rajasthan; the ways in which intreccio creates new zones of legality and illegality based on Muslim criminalization in India; and the relationships between drug merchants, municipal and regional governments, and the military on either side of the Nicaragua/Honduras border. Taken together, the panelists’ projects remind us how the entanglements of crime, capitalism and the state continue to matter while also begging new questions and raising new issues to explore. How do terms of relatedness and intimacy transform and serve as forms of cohesion, allegiance, and subjugation in the intreccio? What forms of criminalization are actively produced and do they obfuscate, displace, and disguise? And what are the strategies that people enact to shape the intreccio in unpredictable ways? The panel offers a comparative perspective of intreccio in different ethnographic contexts on a global scale, and ultimately ask: what are the implications of intreccio for the forms the political can take?


Transcript English (automatic)

Next from AAA Annual Meeting 2021

How Does Intreccio Work? Muslim Criminalization and Land Mafia In West Bengal, India
technical paper

How Does Intreccio Work? Muslim Criminalization and Land Mafia In West Bengal, India

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

Chiara Arnavas

18 November 2021

Similar lecture

Stay up to date with the latest Underline news!

Select topic of interest (you can select more than one)


  • All Lectures
  • For Librarians
  • Resource Center
  • Free Trial
Underline Science, Inc.
1216 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA

© 2023 Underline - All rights reserved