Max Gallien's research while affiliated with Institute of Development Studies and other places

Publications (15)

Article
What does research on informal sector workers and the state entail in the time of Covid-19? The pandemic has limited possibilities for in-person interactions and required adaptations in research approaches. These challenges are exacerbated when the subjects of the research are informal sector workers with limited access to technology and undefined...
Article
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People with disabilities are often excluded from research, which may be exacerbated during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This article provides an overview of key challenges, opportunities, and strategies for conducting disability-inclusive research during the pandemic, drawing on the experience of research teams working across ten countries on dis...
Article
Objective To evaluate the common industry claim that higher tobacco taxation leads to higher levels of smuggling, particularly in a limited state capacity setting. Design This paper evaluates the effects of a tobacco tax increase in Sierra Leone on smuggling by using gap analyses. Its models are based on multiple rounds of the Demographic and Heal...
Chapter
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Smuggling is an economic activity that is politically defined and socially embedded. 1 In its functional essence, smuggling is typically trade, anchored in the demand for certain products and the costs of their movement. At the same time, it is segmented from legal trade through laws, which are, along with their enforcement, deeply political, tied...
Article
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Armed groups tax. Journalistic accounts often include a tone of surprise about this fact, while policy reports tend to strike a tone of alarm, highlighting the link between armed group taxation and ongoing conflict. Policymakers often focus on targeting the mechanisms of armed group taxation as part of their conflict strategy, often described as ‘f...
Book
The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling offers a comprehensive survey of interdisciplinary research related to smuggling, reflecting on key themes, and charting current and future trends. Divided into six parts and spanning over 30 chapters, the volume covers themes such as mobility, borders, violent conflict, and state politics, as well as looks at th...
Article
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Although an object of increasing interest, researching illegal activities generates a range of methodological challenges for political scientists. Rather than an exhaustive discussion, this article provides a simple framework that structures these challenges. It highlights that illegality is an insufficient guide to method development and needs to...
Article
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The pandemic is in many ways a crisis of governance. It has created a set of unique challenges that underscore the need for governments to collect revenue more efficiently and equitably; and to spend it more inclusively, transparently, and accountably, especially on the most vulnerable and marginalised populations. In this article, we suggest a set...
Article
Full-text available
Although smuggling is commonly assumed to happen in remote and difficult-to-access borderlands, in reality, smuggling is most prevalent in areas that states tightly control, including at formal border crossings. To understand this puzzle, this article explores the relationship between states and smugglers at international borders. Based on extensiv...
Chapter
In the past decade, increasing administrative interest in safety and ethics has drawn new actors into decision-making processes around fieldwork. This chapter argues that despite the resulting new administrative procedures, and unacknowledged by them, researchers are still fundamentally alone in most security-relevant decisions. This is neither sur...
Thesis
This project explores the political economy of informal and illegal cross-border trade in North Africa, focusing in particular on Tunisia’s border with Libya, and Morocco’s North-East bordering Algeria and the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Based on extensive fieldwork, the project traces the informal institutions that regulate smuggling across the re...
Article
Although borderland regions of the Middle East and North Africa represent active sights of economic and social exchange, they remain peripheral to the analysis of the region’s political economy. Conventional accounts of cross-border informal trade tend to emphasize its illegality based on existing economic regulations, overlooking the deep politica...
Article
Contemporary writing on North African borderlands invokes the idea of a general, unregulated porosity through which small-scale informal traders of food or textiles move alongside drug smugglers and terrorists. I challenge that conception, demonstrating that the vast majority of smuggling activity is in fact highly regulated through a dense network...

Citations

... Taxation is a crucial source of revenue and, therefore, financial capacity for armed groups. But taxation also allows armed groups to exercise control well beyond the economic sphere (see Bandula-Irwin et al., 2021;2022). Taxation practices enable armed groups to shape the social sphere -for instance, when taxing goods or behaviour that are considered to be morally wrong, such as alcohol, cigarettes or khat. ...
... From a methodological point of view, this relative 'siloing' likely has done a particular disservice to the generation of knowledge on smuggling. As methodological work on researching smuggling and illegal activities more widely has pointed out (see i.e., Ellis and MacGaffey, 1996;Gallien, 2021;Siu and Bensassi;Dobler;De La Rosa and Lara, in this volume), the particular challenges in researching these activities make work across methodologies and across disciplines particularly important and potentially particularly productive. Furthermore, different methodologies share wider challenges around ethics and risks (see Huesken, in this volume) and the trade-offs of localising smuggling (see Dobler, in this volume) that can provide a starting point for conversations across disciplinary divides. ...
... Similarly, Liz Theoharis (2020) required that the government use far-sighted social and economic policies to solve the problem of poverty to establish justice, promote the welfare of the whole people, and improve society from the bottom. The government's role in the distribution process, the connotation of public services, etc. should be changed (The Editorial Board, 2020; Mohmand et al., 2021;Saez & Zucman, 2020;Eisinger, Ernsthausen, & Kiel, 2021). Julia Lynch (2020) insisted that additional income support and personal protective equipment guarantees in the short term, as well as a more equal distribution of income in the long term, be required to mitigate social inequality, lowering society's vulnerability to a global pandemic, like COVID-19. ...
... For example, looking at the Congo-Uganda border, Raeymaekers (in this volume) shows that many 'borderland bandits,' which play an important role in the smuggling economy and the way it is governed, owe their position to connections with the state. Rather than being characterised by mere evasion or perhaps unstructured petty corruption, recent scholarship has described a variety of more structured relationships, regulating how goods can be smuggled, at what price and under which conditions (i.e., Titeca and Herdt, 2010;Ahmad, 2017;Gallien and Weigand, 2021;Raineri and Strazzari, 2021). This can be found throughout the chapters in this volume, a few of which have further demonstrated that these dynamics take on an additional complexity when they are set in a context where also non-state armed groups are active (see Brenner; Thakur, Ahmad, in this volume). ...
... Reliance on gatekeepers may also necessitate adopting new strategies, such as a less vehement and cold rejection of unwanted sexual advances than one ordinarily would exhibit, as Mügge (2013) illustratively discusses. At the same time, a competitive academic job market, imperatives to collect novel and useful data, and harmful discourses surrounding dangerous fieldwork also, problematically, shape incentives for junior researchers to relax their own standards of what constitutes acceptable risk (Gallien 2021). ...
... "In practice," as Hüsken sums up his findings about smuggling between Egypt and Libya, "smugglers, soldiers, customs officers, policemen and the ordinary citizen are very much intertwined actors for whom smuggling is a field of economic cooperation, social arrangements and political strategies" (Hüsken 2019, p. 166). Most ethnographies of cross-border situations come to similar conclusions (Egg and Herrera 1998;Raeymaekers 2009;Ng'askie 2019;Gallien 2020b;). Smugglers do not by-pass the state; they use it selectively. ...
... The oil industry dominates Iraq's economy. The oil sector provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings (Malik et al., 2020). Most of the listed companies in Iraq deal in oil products and are belong to the financial sector of the economy. ...
... Borders can be resources for governments , but also for border populations . The latter often live from small-scale smuggling, which is not only tolerated, but sometimes even institutionalized by the state power (Gallien 2020;. This becomes more difficult the more fortified a border is. ...