Archives de catégorie : La société en réseaux

From Drug Wars to Criminal Insurgency: Mexican Cartels, Criminal Enclaves and Criminal Insurgency in Mexico and Central America. Implications for Global Security

John P. SullivanJohn P. Sullivan, From Drug Wars to Criminal Insurgency: Mexican Cartels, Criminal Enclaves and Criminal Insurgency in Mexico and Central America. Implications for Global Security, FMSH-WP-2012-09

To download this working paper/ Pour télécharger le working paper

The author

John P. Sullivan is a career police officer. He currently serves as a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff ’s Department where he is assigned to the Emergency Operations Bureau. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism (CAST). His research focuses on counterinsurgency, intelligence, terrorism, transnational gangs, and urban operations. He is coeditor of Countering Terrorism and WMD: Creating a Global Counter-Terrorism Network (Routledge, 2006).


Transnational organized crime is a pressing global security issue. Mexico is currently embroiled in a protracted drug war. Mexican drug cartels and allied gangs (actually poly-crime organizations) are currently challenging states and sub-state polities (in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and beyond) to capitalize on lucrative illicit global economic markets. As a consequence of the exploitation of these global economic flows, the cartels are waging war on each other and state institutions to gain control of the illicit economy. Essentially, they are waging a ‘criminal insurgency’ against the current configuration of states. As such, they are becoming political, as well as economic actors.

This presentation examines the dynamics of this controversial proposition. The control of territorial space — ranging from ‘failed communities’ to ‘failed regions’ — will be examined. The presentation will examine the exploitation of weak governance and areas (known as ‘lawless zones,’ ‘ungoverned spaces,’ ‘other governed spaces,’ or ‘zones of impunity’) where state challengers have created parallel or dual sovereignty, or ‘criminal enclaves’ in a neo-feudal political arrangement. The use of instrumental violence, corruption, information operations (including attacks on journalists), street taxation, and provision of social goods in a utilitarian fashion will be discussed. Finally, the dynamics of the transition of cartels and gangs into ‘accidental guerrillas’ and ‘social bandits’ will be explored through the lens of ‘third generation gang’ theory and ‘power-counter power’ relationships. This presentation will serve as a starting point for assessing the threat to security from transnational organized crime through lessons from the Mexican cartels.


insurgency, counterinsurgency, transnational gangs, global security, drug war, drug cartels, Mexico


insurrection, contre-insurrection, sécurité globale, guerre de la drogue, cartels de la drogue, Mexique

The text

This text was written for a seminar on « Netwars and Peacenets », held in Paris on 27-28 June 2011, in the frame of the Chaire of Manuel Castells entitled « Interdisciplinary analysis of the society in webs » at the Collège d’études mondiales.

More information :

To download this working paper/ Pour télécharger le working paper

Ni dieu ni maître : les réseaux

Manuel Castells

Professeur à l’Annenberg School of Communication (University of Southern California) et directeur de l’Internet Interdisciplinary Institute de Barcelone, université virtuelle mondiale. Manuel Castells est un des sociologues fondateurs de l’École française de sociologie urbaine au cours des années 1970. Son premier livre intitulé La question urbaine (Maspero, 1972), est devenu une référence mondiale. Avec sa trilogie consacrée à L’ère de l’information (Fayard, 1996-1998), il devient le spécialiste internationalement reconnu de la société de l’information et des réseaux. Dans Communication Power (Oxford University Press, 2009), il se base sur son analyse des réseaux et des technologies de communication pour développer une nouvelle théorie du pouvoir à l’ère de l’information.


Un nouveau système de communication a émergé : une auto-communication de masse à travers les sites de réseaux sociaux, les blogs… Ce nouvel environnement communicationnel modifie profondément les relations de pouvoir. À travers plusieurs analyses de cas, dont les récents événements du « printemps arabe » et le mouvement des « Indignados », M. Castells montre dans sa conférence les conséquences de cette évolution sur les processus politiques et les mouvements sociaux.

Le texte

Leçon inaugurale de la Chaire Analyse interdisciplinaire de la société en réseaux, 28 juin 2011, Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme, Paris.

Où trouver ce document

Pour citer ce document

Manuel Castells, Ni dieu ni maître : les réseaux, FMSH-WP-2012-02, février 2012.