Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: American Ethnological Society
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Indigeneity
Secondary Theme: Policy
Debates on the War on Drugs in the Western Hemisphere often depict governmental interventions as driven by an overarching rationale of zero tolerance. Drug control regimes in the Americas, however, encompass a wide array of policies and interventions that have very different effects on targeted peoples and territories. This panel closely examines these interventions throughout the indigenous Americas, tracing drug commodity chains from areas of production through zones of transit to points of retail distribution. The panel examines different regimes of prohibition, regulation, and security and the ways these enter into complex interplay with the governance of indigenous peoples. Through detailed ethnographic and historical analyses of the everyday mechanics of drug-related governmental intervention, the panel probes the multifarious entanglement—or various forms of detachment—between drug control regimes and indigenous socioeconomic and political life. Answering the call of Bianet Castellanos and others to foster dialogues between North American Indigenous Studies and its Southern counterparts, the panel brings together scholars studying crop substitution and crop eradication programs in South America, regimes of coca regulation in the Andes, militarization and drug rehabilitation programs in Central America, territorial reconfigurations in Tohono land along the US-Mexico border, and the relationship between drug prohibition and settler colonialism in the United States. The panel will explore the ways in which governmental interventions produce or shape drug economies in indigenous territories, in large part by allowing for the emergence of interests which extract, produce, and subsidize capital at various drug control regime nodes. We examine the interplay between regimes of recognition and drug control throughout the hemisphere. Finally, we examine the extent to which alternatives to prohibitionism have already emerged throughout the hemisphere as a result of the interaction between governmental interventions, local knowledge, and local/regional forms of administration.