Probabilistic borderwork:

Oil smuggling, nonillegality, and techno-legal politics in the Kurdish borderlands of Turkey


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How are borders made porous? In Turkey's Kurdish borderlands, smugglers are not just agents who operate under cover of night, but city‐based traders whose legal practices create a third space in between legality and illegality. Kurdish oil traders accused of smuggling work closely with lawyers to perform what I call probabilistic borderwork . This is a deliberate counterstate political strategy that uses scientific uncertainty to challenge smuggling charges, achieve nonillegality, and legally disrupt the state's border enforcement. Going beyond existing categories of law and politics, probabilistic borderwork is not a rights‐claiming political‐legal action. Rather, it is a form of techno‐legal political agency involving collaboration between otherwise disparate professional groups. [oil , borders , law , techno‐politics , the Kurds, Turkey ]