A State Built on Sand: How Opium Undermined Afghanistan

A State Built on Sand: How Opium Undermined Afghanistan

by David Mansfield

NOOK Book(eBook)

$19.49 $23.99 Save 19% Current price is $19.49, Original price is $23.99. You Save 19%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now
LEND ME® See Details


Oscillations in opium poppy production in Afghanistan have long been associated with how the state was perceived, such as after the Taliban imposed a cultivation ban in 2000-1.

The international community's subsequent attempts to regulate opium poppy became intimately linked with its own state-building project, and rising levels of cultivation were cited as evidence of failure by those international donors who spearheaded development in poppy-growing provinces like Helmand, Nangarhar and Kandahar.

Mansfield's book examines why drug control - particularly opium bans - have been imposed in Afghanistan; he documents the actors involved; and he scrutinizes how prohibition served divergent and competing interests. Drawing on almost two decades of fieldwork in rural areas, he explains how these bans affected farming communities, and how prohibition endured in some areas while in others opium production bans undermined livelihoods and destabilized the political order, fuelling violence and rural rebellion.

Above all this book challenges how we have come to understand political power in rural Afghanistan. Far from being the passive recipients of violence by state and non-state actors, Mansfield highlights the role that rural communities have played in shaping the political terrain, including establishing the conditions under which they could persist with opium production.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190694715
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 22 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

David Mansfield is an independent consultant widely regarded as the pre-eminent expert on rural livelihoods and opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.

Table of Contents



1. Establishing the Context
Hypothesis and Questions

2. Power, Corruption and Drug Crop Cultivation
Behaving Like a State: Drug Control and Statebuilding
Fulfilling International Drug Control Obligations in Countries with Limited or Contested Domestic Sovereignty

3. Rural Livelihoods Perspectives on Drug Crop Production
Assessing Changes in Patterns of Drug Crop Cultivation from Afar:The Limits of the Current Literature
Reshaping our Understanding of Drug Crop Cultivation and Those Who Cultivate Drug Crops
Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to Improve Understanding of Drug Crop Cultivation and Efforts to Ban It

4. Research Methodology
Focusing the Research
The Research Design
Collecting Primary Data
Adapting to the Security Environment: Methodological and Ethical Considerations

5. A Historical Overview of Statebuilding and Drug Production in Afghanistan
Statebuilding in Afghanistan
Opium Production, Policy and Efforts at Control

6. Repositioning a Pariah Regime-The Taliban Ban of 2000/13
Taking the Moral High Ground
The Ball is in Your Court: Negotiating with the International Community
Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't
A Movement, Not a Monolith

7. Nangarhar-A Model Province
The Provincial Context
Banning Opium in Nangarhar

8. The Ban Unravels
Politics at the Centre: The Return of the Nangarhari Elite
Beyond the Politics of Personalities: An Analysis of the Changing Political and Economic Circumstances of Rural Constituents

9. The Helmand Food Zone-A Technocratic Response to a Complex Phenomenon
The Provincial Context
Banning Opium in the Canal Command Area: The Establishment of the Helmand Food Zone

10. Shifting Political Geography and Patterns of Poppy Cultivation
The Changing Face of Central Helmand
Livelihood Trajectories in Central Helmand

11. Conclusion
Projecting the Appearance of Power: the Problematic Relationship Between Prohibition and Statebuilding
Understanding the Diffuse Nature of Political Power in Rural Space
The Rural Population as Political Actors
Distorting the Political Marketplace
Bans as Temporary Coalitions of Interest
Contribution to Policy
Contribution to Theory


Customer Reviews