Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor's Name

John F. Stack Jr.

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ronald W. Cox

Third Advisor's Name

Felix Martin

Fourth Advisor's Name

Nicol C. Rae

Fifth Advisor's Name

Howard Frank


Globalization, Transnationalization, Garrisons, Jamaica

Date of Defense



The current study is concerned with the role that transnational criminal organizations play in the ability of a small country, such as Jamaica, to govern itself effectively. Jamaica is identified as a major producer and distributor of cannabis, since the 1970s, and today plays an active role in other established illicit markets for cocaine and illegal weapons. Despite a long-term and continued involvement in U.S. funded drug trafficking and counterdrug programs, and the establishment of several anti-crime organizations within the country, Jamaica’s successes have been marginal. The current study attempts to examine first, how criminal groups located within the garrisons of Kingston have managed to strengthen their involvement in illegal activities and to evade the state. Second, it explores how these criminal groups have successfully offset the Jamaican state’s monopoly on power within garrison communities.

Through a qualitative research design, I utilized a wide range of research methods- observation, open-ended interviews, focus groups, document data, audio-visual data, and text and image analysis- in order to identify the mechanisms by which non-state actors have been able to alter their power relation with the state. The study explores the relationship between the Jamaican state and criminal groups residing within garrisons specifically located in the Kingston Metropolitan Area.

The study concludes that the interactions between garrisons and the Jamaican state have become increasingly more transnational over time. Using Nye and Keohane’s (1971) understanding of transnational relations in an analysis of the garrison, the dissertation asserts that network based criminal groupings residing within garrisons are directly shaping the behavior and policy goals of the Jamaican state by forming coalitions and interactions across state boundaries. These coalitions and interactions involve a wide cross section of non-state actors both criminal and legal, as well as corruptible elements of government. Network based criminal groupings located with Jamaica’s garrisons are increasingly competent in evading the law and in carrying out criminal activity. They do so by employing more fluid organizational and power structures, assuming a more influential role in the distribution and use of violence, and by taking advantage of the liberalization and privatization of the Jamaican economy.





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