Monopoly on the Use of Force As a Metanarrative: Violent Non-State Actors and Political Repercussions in the Global South

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 56
Oral Presentation
Simone GOMES , Sociology, IESP-UERJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fernando BRANCOLI , International Relations, San Tiago Dantas (UNESP, UNICAMP e PUC-SP), São Paulo, Brazil
This study seeks to problematize the concept of state monopoly of force, establishing discussions about the use of violence as a polysemic concept. Accordingly, we seek to examine the actions of non-state actors in the so-called Global South countries, understanding these groups as political actors able to establish political changes in the contexts where they are inserted.

The article will focus on groups in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Tripoli, in Lybia. In this sense, it is deeply based in data collected by the authors on field research. Although these assemblages possess distinct characteristics, "Militia" in the Brazilian case and "Neomercenaries" in Libya, the analysis demonstrate similar characteristics, especially on the symbolical reframing of the state monopoly for the use of violence.

The type of control exercised by these groups occurs mainly through the establishment of direct governance in a specific location, particularly by coercion and political power. As a consequence, its performance ultimately emphasize elements that highlight the inefficiency - or the resignificance -  of the State since their composition is based on non-state networks that provides financial support  and  goals and sustained largely by fear and territorial control.

Much of the debate about violent non-state actors is centered in reflections about the threats that such agents might represent for the structures of government authority. In this sense, the growth of non-state actors would necessarily create effects that decreased state capacity and provokes the erosion of the legitimacy of the use of force. However, in the present analysis, we prefer to address the issue through the lens of reframing: the presence such actors actually indicate changes in the state performance and modifications on the symbolic forms legitimate use of violence.