Eric Hobsbawm’s milestone work Bandits is attentive to the rural poor and situates social banditry within the world of peasant resistance, but his concepts are surprisingly adaptable to contemporary urban settings. Drawing on Hobsbawm’s conceptualization of social banditry and avengers, this article examines the perspective of gangs who perceive themselves as victims of inequality, poverty and capitalism; who serve as social actors and providers for their communities; and who at the same time engage in cruelty and high levels of violence and terror. This qualitative study is based on fieldwork undertaken in Trinidad and Tobago.
Janina Pawelz: Hobsbawm in Trinidad: understanding contemporary modalities of urban violence
Conflict, Security & Development, 18, 2018, 5, 409-432