Moving beyond terror groups to examine non-state actors including warlords, gangs and private security companies, Violent Non-State Actors: • Guides you through the core theories and concepts, taking a multidisciplinary approach • Examines different explanations for the emergence of violent non-state actors as well as strategies for dealing with them • Weaves in international case studies from groups including the Islamic State, Los Zetas, Hamas, and Al Qaeda, as well as discussion questions, further reading and definitions of key terms A must read for upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate students in politics, international relations, security and terrorism studies.

Organized Crime and Gangs

Organized Crime and Gangs

Key Terms

  • Associational networks
  • Cartelitos
  • Decapitation
  • Enforcer gangs
  • Mafia
  • Maras
  • Third-generation gangs

Organized criminal groups and gangs are the most ubiquitous of all of the violent non-state actors and exert the biggest threat to security. Most criminal organizations operate across borders and have links and presence in a number of countries. Today organized crime networks are more fluid and interested in striking new alliances with other networks. This chapter discusses the role of gangs and organized criminal groups in destabilizing the state and society.


Organized criminal groups are structured groups of three or more people that exist for a period of time and aim to regularly commit more serious crimes in order to obtain material benefit. Though the group may be constantly evolving to evade detection, ...

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