Arts of Logistics

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Paper abstract: Newspapers and news website abound with often-sensationalist examples of drug smuggling enterprises. One of the most recent involved the smuggling of £600 million worth of methylamphetamine into Australia by disguising the liquid form of the drug as silicon bra inserts. Whilst such cases attract much media attention little is discussed about the ‘innovations’ in smuggling practices that are exhibited. This paper attempts to investigate how the relationship between drug smuggling and the use of mundane consumer goods provides an important insight into forms of ‘illicit logistics’: that is, where the practices of drug smuggling gangs and individuals might be seen as a distinct form of logistical knowledge, albeit illegal. Although different in intent from legal logistical practices the key premise of the paper is that illicit logistics (like insurgency logistics) is premised on a similar form of organisational control over the movement of illicit commodities such as illegal narcotics. The paper also uses a number of case studies to address how the methods used by smugglers offers an important vantage point for understanding the material culture of drug smuggling, specifically forms of counter-design tactics.
Period3 Jun 2016
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map


  • Illicit Logistics
  • Counter-design