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Global Outlaws

Crime, Money, and Power in the Contemporary World

Carolyn Nordstrom (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN: 9780520250963
June 2007
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
Carolyn Nordstrom explores the pathways of global crime in this stunning work of anthropology that has the power to change the way we think about the world. To write this book, she spent three years traveling to hot spots in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the United States investigating the dynamics of illegal trade around the world—from blood diamonds and arms to pharmaceuticals, exotica, and staples like food and oil. Global Outlaws peels away the layers of a vast economy that extends from a war orphan in Angola selling Marlboros on the street to powerful transnational networks reaching across continents and oceans. Nordstrom's extraordinary fieldwork includes interviews with scores of informants, including the smugglers, victims, power elite, and profiteers who populate these economic war zones. Her compelling investigation, showing that the sum total of extra-legal activities represents a significant part of the world's economy, provides a new framework for understanding twenty-first-century economics and economic power. Global Outlaws powerfully reveals the illusions and realities of security in all areas of transport and trade and illuminates many of the difficult ethical problems these extra-legal activities pose.

1. The War Orphan
2. The Bombed-Out Shop
3. Coconuts and Cigarettes: Some Definitions
4. The Gov’nor’s Red Tractors
5. Military Takeovers (Or, How to Own a Country)
6. The Untold Story of the Amputees
7. Robber Barons

8. The Border Post—a Billion-Dollar Truck Stop (Going International)
9. Romancing the Stone: Borders and Businesspeople
10. The Washing Machine: Laundering, Part One

11. Diamonds and Fish: Going Global
12. Ports
13. Drugs
14. The Culture of Criminals
15. The Culture of Cops
16. The World-Port
17. The Investment Machine: Laundering, Part Two
18. Human Cargo

19. Post-Terror: Creating (the Illusion of) Security
20. Conclusion

Carolyn Nordstrom is Professor of Anthropology at Notre Dame and author of several books including Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century and Fieldwork Under Fire: Contemporary Studies of Violence and Culture, both from UC Press; and A Different Kind of War Story.
“An ethnographically rich, peopled account of the global economy.”—Tim Hall Times Higher Education
“Global outlaws intrigues. The tales that it contains are always interesting and often fascinating.”—James G. Carrier Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Inst
“An important contribution toward rethinking and complicating classical views of economies and how to study them, while challenging us to rethink and complicate our reflexive image of ‘crime’ and the ‘criminal.’”—Mitzi Dorland Law & Politics Book Review
“Nordstrom’s personal approach to this global issue sets her book apart. . . . An important book.”—New Scientist
“A poetic and hard-nosed intellectual travelogue, starting on a dusty street in Angola with a child selling Marlboros and ending with human traffic in China.”—The Guardian
"A deeply insightful book that connects the dots of the hidden systems that have subverted democracy and caused the type of desperation and anger that result in a 9/11. A book that opens our awareness."—John Perkins, author of The New York Times bestseller Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

"Anyone interested in global economic crime should read this book."—Charmian Gooch, a founding director of Global Witness

"Global Outlaws is a revealing book about a global trend whose importance is still far from being fully recognized."—Moises Naim, Editor in Chief of Foreign Policy Magazine and author of Illicit: How Smugglers Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy

"Carolyn Nordstrom's important new book takes us on a dark journey through war-torn landscapes riddled with corruption, violence, and gross inequalities. It is a compelling study—one guided by the norms of scholarly research but also written out of deeply felt experience. A book infused by anger, compassion, but also hope."—Andrew Mack, University of British Columbia

"This is a fascinating, insightful, and important ethnographic study of the intersection of crime, finance, and power in the illegal, 'informal', or underground economy. I have read all of Carolyn Nordstrom's books, and this is the best one yet."—Jeff Sluka, Massey University

"Carolyn Nordstrom's Global Outlaws is a rare and remarkable fusion of economic anthropology and travel writing. The prose is highly engaging without being sensationalistic. This is a timely and fascinating read for anyone looking for an on-the-ground account of the clandestine underside of globalization."—Peter Andreas, co-author of Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations

"Carolyn Nordstrom is the best fieldworker in anthropology, bar none. Yet again she has pioneered new fieldsites and new forms of ethnography in this book, as well as presented a new framework for viewing economics and economic power. This is undoubtedly a highly important work that sets new frontiers for anthropology."—Monique Skidmore, Australian National University

SEA Book Prize, Society for Economic Anthropology

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