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Confluences of War and Crime: Trajectories into Paramilitary Groups in Colombia

The relationship between war and crime is complex and multifaceted. Still, insurgents, armed rebels, and paramilitary groups and the violence they perpetrate are often understood within either a framework of war or of crime. Based on repeat interviews with former members of Colombian paramilitary groups, we describe the role of economic motivations, security concerns, social relations, as well as identity and feelings of power in motivating people’s involvement in these groups. A life-course analysis demonstrates the many possible confluences of war and crime leading to involvement in paramilitary groups and emphasizes how these change over time.


The soundtrack of criminal careers: On music, life courses and life stories

Music is ubiquitous in contemporary societies, and criminologists are paying increasing attention to it, asserting that it takes antisocial, prosocial and anti-establishment forms regarding criminality. Established approaches provide vital ways to understand the relationship of music and crime, but criminologists have yet to theorise the fluidity of music's roles for those who have committed criminalised acts. The life-story interviews we conducted with prisoners in Latin America reveal that music's role in people's lives changes over the course of their lives in complex ways. It also frames and influences the way they talk about their own histories. Informed by repeat interviews with four prisoners, we suggest including the concepts of life courses and life stories to facilitate understanding the complexity and multi-dimensionality of the relationship between crime and music. We also demonstrate and discuss how life courses and life stories are intertwined.

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