Smugglers and States: Negotiating the Maghreb at Its Margins by Max Gallien

$ 35.00

Smuggling is typically thought of as furtive and hidden, taking place under the radar and beyond the reach of the state. But in many cases, governments tacitly permit illicit cross-border commerce, or even devise informal arrangements to regulate it. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in the borderlands of Tunisia and Morocco, Max Gallien explains why states have long tolerated illegal trade across their borders and develops new ways to understand the political economy of smuggling.

This book examines the rules and agreements that govern smuggling in North Africa, tracing the involvement of states in these practices and their consequences for borderland communities. Gallien demonstrates that, contrary to common assumptions about the effects of informal economies, smuggling can promote both state and social stability. States not only turn a blind eye to smuggling, they rely on it to secure political acquiescence and maintain order, because it provides income for otherwise neglected border communities. More recently, however, the securitization of borders, wars, political change, and the pandemic have put these arrangements under pressure. Gallien explores the renegotiation of the role of smuggling, showing how stability turns into vulnerability and why some groups have been able to thrive while others have been pushed further to the margins. With both rich empirical detail and novel theoretical contributions, Smugglers and States offers important insights into security and stability in North Africa and the prospects for economic inclusion in a context where many livelihoods exist outside of the law.

Max Gallien is a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and the International Centre for Tax and Development. He is a coeditor of the Routledge Handbook of Smuggling (2022).

Year: 2024


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