Terror and Trafficking in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India: A Routine Activity Approach

Murphy, Tony (2019). Terror and Trafficking in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India: A Routine Activity Approach. In: Jaishankar, K. ed. Routledge Handbook of South Asian Criminology. Abingdon: Routledge.

URL: https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-So...


This chapter demonstrates the value of criminological theory in understanding key crime events in a number of South Asian countries. Although we can study issues of crime and justice in South Asia as we might do in any other region or country of the world, the processes and threats associated with terrorism and organised crime are especially prominent in this region. In particular, the illicit trades in drugs and people - trafficking - are noteworthy. Such activities evolve, and in doing so they present problems for domestic law and order and indeed wider security matters. Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are focal points within the chapter. They exhibit many of the problems associated with fostering a secure law and order environment, and they have been closely associated with trafficking and terrorist activities in recent years. A number of possible theoretical lenses are available as a means through which to explore, and ultimately understand those crime events. Traditional criminological theories continue to prove to be a valuable reference point, or a tool for understanding crime on some level, as well as a platform upon which more recent theories have been able to build-on; filling in explanatory gaps or responding to critique of those original theories. Theory often builds on theory after-all. In this context, the chapter utilizes a re-working of traditional criminological theory - classicism - through the focus on routine activity theory (Cohen & Felson, 1979), and builds on this further by reconciling it with dimensions ordinarily associated with other theoretical models. In essence, the chapter demonstrates how it is possible to move beyond the conceptual constraints of a theory and apply it to contexts beyond those ordinarily associated with the theory. Thus here, routine activity theory is used to better understand terrorism and trafficking. In order to do this, the foundational principles of the routine activity framework are interrogated and then subsequently treated in a more expansive manner. At the outset, the nature of the threats in the case study countries is outlined.

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