The myth of the Narco-state

The myth of the narco-state

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy (CNRS-Prodig)

Space and Polity

Special Issue: Drugs, law, people, place and the state: ongoing regulation, resistance and change

2016, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp. 26-38
DOI: 10.1080/13562576.2015.1052348


Despite being used repeatedly in different contexts, the term “narco-state” has never been
satisfactorily defined or explained. In fact, the existence of the narco-state is almost always
taken for granted. This article will argue, on the basis of a review of existing definitions and
of selected case studies, that there is no such thing as a narco-state and that using the term tends to oversimplify if not mask the complex socio-political and economic realities of
drug-producing countries. The narco-state notion will be debated and opposed in terms of
politics, territory, and economics.


narco-state; definition; rentier state; territory; politics; economics

About the author

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy

Dr. Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the Sorbonne University (Paris) and an HDR (Habilitation à diriger des recherches or "accreditation to supervise research"). He is a CNRS Research Fellow attached to the PRODIG research team (UMR 8586).

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy est docteur en géographie, habilité à diriger des recherches (HDR), et chargé de recherche au CNRS. Il est membre de l'équipe PRODIG (UMR 8586).