By Sophie Foster
On Thursday, Oct. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m., Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College at Columbia University Dr. Eduardo Moncada delivered a talk regarding his latest publication, “Resisting Extortion: Victims, Criminals, and States in Latin America.”
The webinar, held via Zoom, was organized by Political Science Department Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies Dr. Christine Wade, and began with a introduction between her as the host and Dr. Moncada.
During the talk itself, Dr. Moncada centered the question of “when and how…victims of organized crime mobilize to resist.”
He approached the question from many different angles, including victims’ engagement in collective action, the nature of relationships maintained between victims and their governments, and the potential capture or lack thereof of police by criminal organizations. Moncada used each approach as a means to reflect on “different forms of resistance to extortion by armed criminal actors.”
According to Moncada, these are the subjects his book dissects most thoroughly. Moncada also identifies extortion by criminal figures as an issue simultaneously understudied, severe, and broadly spread. The book will consider the view of the helplessness of victims by their government and the role extortion plays in the continuation of their aforementioned victimhood moving forward.
Moncada does this analysis by applying his extensive research, but also based on fieldwork in what the book describes as “violent localities in Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico” including work pursued with interviews, focus groups, and drawing exercises.
“The analysis traces and compares processes that lead to individual acts of everyday resistance; sporadic killings by ad hoc groups of victims and police; institutionalized and sustained collective vigilantism; and coordination between victims and states to co-produce order in ways that both strengthen and undermine the rule of law,” the book says.
“Resisting Extortion: Victims, Criminals, and States in Latin America” was published in December of 2021 and is available now from the Cambridge University Press.