What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic
Short Url
Updated 03 December 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

Separatism has been on the rise across the world since the end of the Cold War, dividing countries through political strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war, and redrawing the political map. Gangsters and Other Statesmen examines the role transnational mafias play in the success and failure of separatist movements, challenging conventional wisdom about the interrelation of organized crime with peacebuilding, nationalism, and state making.

Danilo Mandic conducted fieldwork in the disputed territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia, talking to mobsters, separatists, and policymakers in war zones and along major smuggling routes. In this timely and provocative book, he demonstrates how globalized mafias shape the politics of borders in torn states, shedding critical light on an autonomous nonstate actor that has been largely sidelined by considerations of geopolitics, state-centered agency, and ethnonationalism. Blending extensive archival sleuthing and original ethnographic data with insights from sociology and other disciplines, Mandic argues that organized crime can be a fateful determinant of state capacity, separatist success, and ethnic conflict.

Putting mafias at the center of global processes of separatism and territorial consolidation, Gangsters and Other Statesmen raises vital questions and urges reconsideration of a host of separatist cases in West Africa, the Middle East, and East Europe.


What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King

What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King
Updated 17 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King

What We Are Reading Today: Social Chemistry by Marissa King

This is a book that has much to teach about interpersonal relationships.

“Beyond its applications to the work place it also explores the social dynamics in the connections we make within our families, with our friends and into our communities,” said a review in goodreads.com. 

“There are valuable insights here, grounded in research and science and brought to life through personal stories,” said the review.

Priya Parker says in a review for The New York Times that Author Marissa King’s work is one of a number of new books that emphasize the importance of social interaction at this moment of social distancing.

“Reading Social Chemistry during a pandemic is an unsettling experience,” added Parker.

King “calls on us to be intentional not just with our individual relationships, but with our networks. We conflate networks with networking.” 

Parker said: “We can’t avoid networks. We are all a part of them and they shape our realities. They are also not inherently good or bad. Schools that design structures forcing students to interact with different groups, through scattered seating assignments, make cliques less ubiquitous.”