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The Ambivalent StatePolice-Criminal Collusion at the Urban Margins$
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Javier Auyero and Katherine Sobering

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190915537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190915537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 June 2021



(p.1) Introduction
The Ambivalent State

Javier Auyero

Katherine Sobering

Oxford University Press

The introduction begins with the story of Carolina, a mother who struggles with her son’s addiction to paco, a cheap and pernicious drug that is increasingly common in the poor neighborhood where she lives. In describing her plight, Carolina articulates what constitutes the empirical object of this book: the illicit collaboration between police and drug dealers. The remainder of this chapter sets up the focus on not only overt and visible state interventions, but also the clandestine, hidden relations that structure life at the urban margins. To do so, it introduces the book’s unique combination of data: ethnographic evidence in a poor neighborhood combined with an original legal archive of court cases and, in particular, highly revealing wiretapped phone conversations between drug market actors and agents of the state. It concludes with an overview of the book and a note on the ethics of studying poverty and violence.

Keywords:   drug violence, politics, poverty, covert action, ethnography, wiretaps, Argentina

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