Towards a Geography of Narcotics Trafficking: The Role of Space and Place in the Eurasian Drug Trade

Authors: Christopher Cowan*, University of Arkansas, Ted Holland, University of Arkansas, Ainura Sulaimanova, American University of Central Asia
Topics: Eurasia, Political Geography
Keywords: Narcotics Trafficking, Kyrgyzstan, Political Geography, De-Facto States, Territoriality, Central Asia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


At its core, narcotics trafficking is a spatial process. It is a flow of commodities - narcotics - which is both shaped by and ultimately shapes the spaces and places through which it flows. Relying on fieldwork conducted in Kyrgyzstan and ongoing graduate research, this paper seeks to examine how trafficking is discussed in geography literature. Furthermore, it seeks to discern how narcotics trafficking can be conceived of as a geographic process which both shapes and is shaped by space and place. Specifically, this paper intends to focus on the role of narcotics trafficking plays in shaping space in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia more broadly, with a specific emphasis on spaces of transit and exchange as well as contested space. In doing so, it aims to consider how the narcotics trade is discussed within geography in terms of space, place, and spatial processes.

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