POE490 is available for students who wish to pursue in-depth research and study under one-on-one supervision with a faculty member on a topic within the range of expertise of the supervisor, mutually agreed between the supervisor and the student. Both the topic and the evaluation method must be approved by the Department Head. The topic must fall clearly within one of the five standard sub-fields of political science. Some projects undertaken as part of this course may be carried out in coordination with an external agency.
Assuming prior knowledge of terrorism, narco-trafficking, and the Columbian civil war, this course will build on work by Dziedzic (2016) and on peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction theories to address specific questions of interest to the student(s).
One of the themes of new wars is that non-state actors use violence for purposes not traditionally associated with states. Dziedzic opens his work on criminalized power structures with the observation that, “Peace settlements and stability operations will not prosper in the presence of criminalized power structures (CPS) capable of enriching themselves from transactions in gray and black markets, criminalizing state institutions, and perpetuating a culture of impunity.” (Dziedzic, 2016).
Are established governments significantly different from upstart warlords? What differentiates legitimate political systems from criminalized political structures? Dziedzic is a retired US officer with experience of several post-Cold War conflicts. Are military officers in the service of Western states (particularly the US) what USMC General Smedley Butler called “hired muscle for the racket of capitalism” ? Tilly (1985) described the process of state-building as a protection racket, in which the most efficient organized criminals or biggest thugs wrote the rules which kept them in power and allocated them the most resources (Easton’s definition of politics – the authoritative allocation of values – combined with Weber’s definition of the state – the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence). In another work, Tilly (2003) described the mutually reinforcing roles of political entrepreneurs and violent specialists in controlling and allocating power and wealth and applying violence for political purposes.
With Dziedzic’s sophisticated work on criminalized power structures, and a practical toolkit for approaching criminalized power structures, we can explore national strategies (rather than international interventions) aimed at restoring local control over political economy and reconciling or managing protracted social conflicts. In doing this, we’ll look at critiques of liberal peacebuilding theory, particularly those of market enthusiasts (e.g. Gerson and Coletta, 2001)