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The Architecture of Illegal MarketsTowards an Economic Sociology of Illegality in the Economy$
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Jens Beckert and Matías Dewey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794974

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794974.001.0001

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“We Are the Genuine People”

“We Are the Genuine People”

Legality and Legitimacy in the Sierra Leonean Diamond Market

Chapter:
(p.198) 11 “We Are the Genuine People”
Source:
The Architecture of Illegal Markets
Author(s):

Nina Engwicht

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198794974.003.0011

The study of legality and illegality in markets usually relies on the assumption of “consolidated” statehood. This is surprising given that the strong state is by far an exception rather than the norm in the international system. It raises the question of how illegality is socially defined and enacted in contexts in which statehood is limited; that is, when the legitimacy, capability, and willingness of political authorities to develop and enforce a coherent body of laws is restricted. Analyzing social interactions in Sierra Leone’s illegal diamond market, this chapter argues that in order to understand illegality in situations of limited statehood it is crucial to take into account how illegal economies and their relation to the legal sphere are shaped by social norms of legitimacy.

Keywords:   illegal markets, limited statehood, legitimacy, diamond market, Sierra Leone

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