(Care)ful Crime: Exploring Carework in the Spaces and Practices of Somali Piracy

Authors: Brittany Gilmer*, University of Alabama, Matthew Dolliver, University of Alabama
Topics: Africa, Gender, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Crime, maritime piracy, carework, Somalia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The goal of this article is to locate and examine where and how carework is performed in the commencement and maintenance of piracy operations in Somalia. In doing so, it attempts to disrupt imaginings of carework as an inherently benevolent practice while also challenging the assumptions that criminal practices are absent of care. I begin by providing an overview of current literature on “care” and “carework” in the disciplines of geography and criminology, highlighting convergences and gaps. Next, I discuss maritime piracy and its long-standing reputation as a violent, ruthless crime and propose bringing the two disciplinary approaches together to locate and explore carework in contemporary maritime piracy. Then, I examine Somali piracy as a case study by drawing from primary data collected during fieldwork conducted in Somalia, Kenya, and the Seychelles as well as secondary source data. I argue that the in the Somali piracy context, carework is being employed in various spaces through various acts that are essential to the success of piracy operations. I conclude with a discussion about the transformative potential of locating and researching spaces and practices of care within criminal practices, both within and beyond the geographical region of Somalia and the crime of maritime piracy.

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