Right of Entry: The Struggle over Recognition in the World of Intelligence

In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)
Anthony AmicelleSciences Po Bordeaux, Research Centre Émile Durkheim, Bordeaux, France,

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This article aims to question the birth, and subsequent search for recognition, of a new type of intelligence agency, which appeared in the early 1990s and is now institutionalised in a vast majority of states across the world: “Financial intelligence units”. It sheds light for the first time on the modalities of access of one of these agencies to the field of security. Following Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory, it thus raises the question of the “right of entry” of a new actor to a specific social universe, e.g. “the conditions and modalities for access to a particular ‘field’ at a given time in its history”. Understanding how such intelligence agencies take shape, function and interact with the security-related recipients of their intelligence is crucial for at least two reasons, regarding the policing of illicit capital and associated crimes, and the use of intelligence in contemporary strategies of social control.

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