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The state as a gang: conceptualising the governmentality of violence in contemporary Nicaragua

By Dennis Rodgers


This article explores the nature of state violence in contemporary Nicaragua. It begins by considering the premise that Latin America has undergone a ‘crisis of governance’ during the past decade, due to the rise of multiple forms of non-state violence, proposing a means of visualizing how forms of ‘state sovereignty’ and ‘social sovereignty’ can viably coexist. With reference to the example of Nicaraguan youth gangs, it then explores the underlying basis of forms of ‘social sovereignty’, focusing in particular on the role played by their violent practices in the constitution of different modes of social ordering. It then uses the analysis developed in relation to gangs heuristically to consider the transformation of state governmentality in Nicaragua, before offering some concluding thoughts about what this might imply for future anthropological explorations of the state’s role in contemporary landscapes of violence

Topics: GN Anthropology
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0308275X06066577
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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