Bringing Therapeutic Governance Back Home: US Responsibility and Drug-Related Organized Crime in the Americas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses how contemporary policy thinking is reformulating the notion of international responsibility and, in the process, entrenching neoliberal governance frameworks in Western societies. It argues that in the context of the international fight against drug-related organised crime in the Americas a therapeutic discourse on demand reduction has overcome the state-building problematic according to which international security problems are caused by socio-cultural deficits in weak, failed, or fragile societies abroad. Instead of failed states producing global ‘bads’ (such as international terrorism, refugee flows, and environmental hazards in isolation), wealthy Northern societies are seen as having exported their problems to the rest of the world through problematic consumption choices. Economic stagnation and the break-down of political order in the Global South—and their negative knock-on effects on international security—are (re)produced by unethical Western consumption practices. In consequence, rather than intervening in post-conflict and other transitional societies through foreign policy, fostering international peace and development becomes an issue of enabling better choice-making at home. This process incorporates populations in the Global North into the paternalising discourses previously reserved for post-conflict societies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoral Agency and the Politics of Responsibility
EditorsCornelia Ulbert, Peter Finkenbusch , Elena Sondermann, Tobias Debiel
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781138707436
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2017


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