MAY 2016: Gender Blindness in Drug Policy

Adam Baird received a DSD fellowship in 2011. He is a sociologist and trained ethnographer who focuses on masculinities, gang violence, and urban insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has worked across Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean. Baird has recently taken up a position as research fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, UK. Baird has applied his research in policy circles, collaborating with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Crisis Response Unit by designing gang prevention projects in Belize and developing UNDP Jamaica’s strategic plan for violence reduction. His latest report for UNDP is Towards a Theory of Change for Social Cohesion and Community Safety in Jamaica (UNDP, 2014); his latest academic article is “Duros & Gangland Girlfriends: Male Identity, Gang Socialisation and Rape in Medellín” in Violence at the Urban Margins in the Americas, edited by J. Auyero, P. Bourgois, and N. Scheper-Hughes (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Corina Giacomello received a DSD fellowship in 2011. She is a researcher specializing on gender, justice, drug policy, and prison systems in Latin America. She has a PhD in Latin American studies from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and her research dissertation Género, drogas y prisión: Experiencias de mujeres privadas de su libertad en México was published in 2013 by Tirant Lo Blanch. Giacomello belongs to the first generation of the DSD fellowship. She is currently working for the National Institute of Penal Sciences, and she cooperates with the NGO Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres, both in Mexico. In 2012, she worked for the Beckley Foundation as the Latin American project coordinator in Guatemala, cooperating on the development of alternative drug policy proposals for the Guatemalan government. Her latest publications include the policy brief “Women, Drug Offenses and Penitentiary Systems in Latin America” (International Drug Policy Consortium [IDPC], October 2013), presented at the OEA and the UN in April 2014, and “Propuestas de alternativas a la persecución penal y al encarcelamiento por delitos de drogas en América Latina” (IDPC, October 2013), presented at the CICAD High Level Workshop on Alternative Measures to Incarceration in June 2014.

Audio Credit: TunDrik – track: New Generation / CC BY 3.0

SEPTEMBER 2014: Thomas Grisaffi on Bolivia’s Coca Growers

Thomas Grisaffi received a DSD postdoctoral fellowship in 2013. He received his PhD from the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester in 2009. He has worked as an assistant professor at the London School of Economics (2009–2012) and as a public policy researcher. In March 2014 he began a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at the UCL Institute of the Americas in London and is a research fellow at the Andean Information Network. Grisaffi’s research focuses on the political ascent of the Chapare Coca Growers Union in Bolivia. His thematic interests include democracy, citizenship, the illegal cocaine trade, social movements, and community radio.

Audio Credit: Track 04. “Sumaq Orqos De Qaqachaka” By Qanthut Sisa…Kantutita (02:30) / CC BY 3.0

Correction: Coca cultivation in Bolivia has decreased by 26 percent, not 22 percent as stated in the recording at 11:30.

MAY 2014: Teo Ballvé & Winifred Tate on Colombia

Teo Ballvé received a DSD dissertation fellowship in 2012 to conduct research for his dissertation project, “Territorial Masquerades: Frontier State Formation in Northwest Colombia.” Ballvé is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been living and working as an investigative journalist covering the armed conflict and the drug war in Colombia since 2006. His research focuses on the territorial conflicts produced by the violent political economies of the armed conflict and the drug trade in Colombia’s northwest region of Urabá.

Winifred Tate received a DSD postdoctoral fellowship in 2012. Tate is an assistant professor of anthropology at Colby College. She first arrived in Colombia as a student and volunteer in 1988. Her research and teaching interests have emerged from her experience with human rights organizations based in Latin America and Washington, DC, including work as a staff analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America (1998–2001) and as a consultant. Her research in Colombia on political violence, illicit economies, and community activism has been funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the US Institute for Peace, and Colby faculty development grants.

Audio Credit: “No Frills Comparsa” Kevin MacLeod ( / CC BY 2.0

MARCH 2013: Froylán Enciso: A History on Drugs from Sinaloa to the World

Froylán Enciso received a DSD fellowship in 2012 to conduct research for his project, “A History on Drugs from Sinaloa to the World.” He is a Sinaloa-born doctoral student at the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a degree in international relations from El Colegio de México (2002). His project traces the history of drug dealing in Sinaloa, birthplace of one of the most violent and successful drug organizations in the Western Hemisphere. Enciso’s project will provide the first account that connects the history of the drug trade in Sinaloa with the creation and consolidation of the global prohibition regime on drugs, and it will uncover the relationship between drug trafficking and practices of state indoctrination—such as the implementation of development models and of repressive policies—shedding light on new forms of class formation, social mobility, and capital accumulation. The project will also explain the rise of narcoculture, a cultural system that reorganizes social classes according to their uses in the illicit drug market, and that was historically promoted by the people of Sinaloa before it became a concern of hemispheric security agencies or part of discourses on the failure of Mexico’s transition to democracy.

Prior to his life as a graduate student, Enciso was a researcher for the Los Angeles Times, a consultant for the Network of Diplomatic Archives at the Ibero-American Summit, and a research assistant for various academic institutions, publishing houses, and media outlets. Enciso has published more than forty academic works, including books, articles, and reviews, and more than one hundred journalistic articles. He has given more than fifty conference papers and presentations in the Americas and Europe. His academic work has been reviewed by the New Yorker, CUNY TV, USA Today, Reuters, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among many others, and he has won honorable mentions in national prizes for diplomatic and contemporary history.

Froylán Enciso recibió una beca DSD en 2012, para realizar la investigación de su proyecto “Una historia en drogas de Sinaloa para el mundo”. Enciso es sinaloense y candidato a doctor en historia de la Universidad Estatal de Nueva York en Stony Brook. También tiene una licenciatura en relaciones internacionales por El Colegio de México (2002). Su proyecto es escribir la historia del comercio de drogas en Sinaloa, origen de una de las organizaciones de tráfico de drogas más violentas y exitosas en el hemisferio. Su proyecto proveerá la primera narrativa histórica que conecta el comercio de drogas en Sinaloa con la creación y consolidación de régimen global de prohibición de estas sustancias. En esta narrativa, revelará relaciones entre el tráfico de drogas y prácticas de adoctrinamiento estatal, la puesta en práctica de modelos de desarrollo y políticas represivas, arrojando luz sobre nuevas formas de formación de clases sociales, capilaridad social y acumulación de capital. Además explicará el surgimiento de la narcocultura, un sistema cultural que reorganiza clases sociales de manera instrumental para el mercado negro de drogas ilícitas y que fue históricamente promovido por sinaloenses mucho antes de que esta región se volviera una preocupación para agencias de seguridad o para los discursos del fracaso de la transición a la democracia en México.

Antes de iniciar su vida como estudiante de posgrado, Enciso fue investigador de Los Angeles Times, consultor de la Red de Archivo Diplomáticos de la Cumbre Iberoamericana y asistente de investigación de diversas instituciones académicas, casas editoriales y medios de comunicación. Enciso ha publicado más de 40 trabajos académicos, incluyendo libros, artículos y reseñas, y más de 100 artículos periodísticos y de divulgación. También ha impartido más de 50 conferencias y presentaciones en diferentes países de América y Europa. Su trabajo académico ha sido reseñado en medios como New Yorker, CUNY TV, USA Today, Reuters, the Columbia Journalism Review, entre muchos otras, y ha ganado menciones honoríficas en premios naciones de historia diplomática y contemporánea.

Damion Blake was a 2011 Drugs, Security and Democracy dissertation fellow. He recently completed his PhD in Political Theory, Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought (ASPECT Program) at Virginia Tech with his project “Violent Actors and Embedded Power: Exploring the Evolving Roles of Jamaica’s Dons.”

Blake’s research examines the intersection of politics, violence, and drugs in Jamaica through investigations of the roles of dons (organized crime bosses) in local inner-city slum communities called garrisons. These urban communities are characterized by homogeneous and, in some cases, over-voting patterns for one of Jamaica’s two major political parties, the Peoples National Party (PNP) or the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), as well as by governmental neglect and deep partisan identities among residents. Dons have evolved as governing authorities inside Jamaica’s garrisons, and Blake makes use of the concept of embeddedness to describe and interpret how dons have managed to retain their positions of power and control despite attempts at law enforcement to remove them.

Blake holds a bachelor of arts and a master of science from the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona, Jamaica. He has taught at UWI and in the departments of history and political science at Virginia Tech. In the spring of 2012, he was a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VHF) Fellow. Blake is also a guest columnist with the Gleaner in Jamaica, contibuting commentary pieces on Caribbean political economy and violence.

OCTOBER 2012: Yanilda Gonzalez on Participatory Security in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia

Yanilda Gonzalez was awarded a Drugs, Security and Democracy (DSD) fellowship in 2011 to conduct research for her dissertation project, “Reform as a Safety Valve: Causes and Consequences of ‘Participatory Security.’” She is a graduate student in the Politics Department, as well as in the Joint Degree Program in Politics and Social Policy, at Princeton University. In the past year Gonzalez has conducted DSD-funded research on participatory security policies in Buenos Aires and São Paulo, and she is currently completing her research in Bogotá, Colombia.

Gonzalez’s work explores why political leaders seek to enact reforms that involve community participation in security strategies. What are the determinants that prompt policymakers to introduce such reforms? What are the impacts of participatory security policies on state capacity, citizenship, and citizen attitudes in settings characterized by broad-based distrust of police and low confidence in the state’s ability to curb crime and violence? How does the nature and role of citizenship change through participation in an issue area like security?

Prior to her work on this research, Gonzalez worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union and with the human rights organization ANDHES (Abogados y Abogadas del Noroeste Argentino en Derechos Humanos y Estudios Sociales) as the coordinator of the “Policía, Sociedad y Democracia” project, an initiative that sought to improve police-community relations as well as open a debate about the role of the police in democratic settings.