Students have asked to focus on politics outside the mainstream – in the grey zone of informal organizations, illegal activities, and pressures of violence in politics

Learner-centered teaching shares decisions about learning with the learners. You have asked to focus on grey zone politics. The photo shows a newly established border between Russian Crimea and Ukraine. The sign said “stop” (стоп) and the graffiti has changed it to “what” (сто) – questioning the legitimacy of the new border.

Grey-zone politics

Javier Auyero, “The Grey Zone of Politics and Social Movements”

“The clandestine connections between state actors and perpetrators of collective violence define the gray zone of politics (Auyero 2007). What Tilly (2003) calls “violent specialists”—that is, actors who specialize in inflicting physical damage—play a key, though sometimes not quite discernible, role in the origins and the course of collective violence. Some of these specialists (police and soldiers, for example) are part of the state apparatus; some others (think thugs, gangs, and vigilante groups), however, enjoy important but oftentimes illicit connections with established power-holders. The notion of the gray zone of politics challenges the easy and simplistic state–society distinctions that most of literature on collective action still takes for granted (among government agents, repressive forces, challengers, polity members, etc.).”