Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Paul Sant Cassia
Banditry is notoriously difficult to define. As a type of predatory, acquisitive, and violent action by groups of men (and sometimes women), it has a long history dating from ancient Greece, Rome, and China. In central and eastern Europe and in the Balkans, it was found in the countryside, in specific conditions (after wars, following massive dislocation, etc.), and in specific periods, especially in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the nation-state was emerging. In Latin America, it was part and parcel of an expanding frontier economy. Banditry usually emerges in remote, hard-to-control mountainous areas that contain large numbers of semimobile and state-resistant pastoralists. Although there are examples of lone bandits, many bandits tends to form fluid bands, sometimes of up to twenty persons. Kinship, real or fictive, is an important component of their organization. Solidarity is reinforced through the institutions of blood-brotherhood and adoption, as well as feasting ...