Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2321H1F L0101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL438H1F L0101

Topics in Comparative Politics I

Living in the Illicit Global Economy


For as long as the global economy has existed, it has had a clandestine “underside.” Today, illicit trade is estimated to represent as much as 20% of total economic activity in some countries. Yet for most of us, our knowledge of the global economy is limited to legally recognized profits and expenses. This course explores the illicit side of the global economy, particularly as it is experienced by those living in the social peripheries. Drawing on political, historical, and ethnographic accounts of illicit economies from across the globe we will examine how distinctions between legal/illegal and licit/illicit activities are drawn, as well as the forms of life that emerge at the interface of the state, legal economies, and illicit activities. Tacking back and forth between theoretical texts and empirical research, students will reflect on prevalent ethical judgements about illicit activities, and on how their everyday lives might be entangled with them.