The Political Economy of Law Enforcement

Workshop at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies on November 12–13, 2019

At first sight the manufacture of social, political and economic order occurs within the confines of the law: through bureaucratic processes and political will imbued with legality, governments and states agents capture the necessary resources for the provision of public services as well as for winning elections and have access to power. A growing number of studies, however, provide empirical evidence casting doubt on the legality bias in this well-established assumption.

From different angles, a series of studies are currently showing the relevance of the enforcement of the law as an under researched and under theorized mechanism when analyzing the production of economic, political and social order. By bringing the varied ways law enforcement mechanisms and institutions can be manipulated, and addressing the complexities of the state-society and legality−illegality interfaces, this emerging literature questions core issues in social science research such as our understanding of state taxation, the capacity of the state, the production of political stability, the role of corruption, state-making processes under conditions of illegality or the role of informal institutions for the capture of resources.

Scholars of several disciplines are invited to come to a one-and-a-half day workshop to discuss different dimensions of the enforcement of the law (in political, economic and social domains); in different areas (e.g., labor, environmental, taxes, urban); as well as methodological issues involved. Papers focusing on a variety of empirical fields ranging from the non-enforcement of the law to state making processes will address the organizational, relational, political, and cultural dimensions of the enforcement of the law as a privileged mechanism at the interface legality and illegality.

Organization and contact

Matías Dewey

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

dewey(at)mpifg(dot)de

Lucas Ronconi

Centro de Investigación y Acción Social and CONICET, Argentina

lucas.ronconi(at)cias.org(dot)ar

Further Information (LINK)