Conference reveals true impacts of organised crime across West
A major two-day conference, opening today at the University and organised through the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, will shine a light on the shady underworld of organised criminal gangs and how their activities impact everyday life for individuals across the West.
Marking the first time the University has hosted the bi-annual European Consortium for Political Research's (ECPR) Standing Group on organised crime, discussions on Friday and Saturday will focus on the social and economic factors that influence criminal activities, the nature of illicit activities and the effectiveness of different policy responses. The event brings together a network of international social scientists.
From Italian mafias to modern slavery
Topics to be discussed include defining and studying organised crime, tackling human trafficking and modern slavery, Italian mafias and new mafias in Rome, organised crime in the UK, illicit trade, drug trafficking, local manifestations of organised crime, and the fight against it.
Despite progress over recent years to better map the spread and influences of criminal gangs, more in-depth research is still needed to unpack the complex and silent features of serious and organised crime. Identifying the overlapping relationships between outwardly disconnected issues, and how space can enable organised crime to establish, is a major research puzzle the conference convenors hope to address.
The event has been brought together by Dr Felia Allum whose own research focuses on organised crime across Europe and in particular the Neapolitan Camorra's presence and activities in France, Spain, Germany, the UK and Holland, as seen in her recent book The Invisible Camorra: Neapolitan Crime Families Across Europe.
At the start of the two-day event, she explained: “These events are always interesting and stimulating with a mix of researchers from all levels and practitioners including police and policy makers.
“This year’s event comes at a time of widespread political change around the world which has serious impacts on organised crime and how we tackle it. Our focus is to increase shared understandings of how divergent, seemingly unrelated, factors, influence criminal activities. By understanding the full picture and by working with international colleagues we will improve policy responses.”
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Professor David Galbreath, added: “The Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences is delighted to host this high-profile event on organised crime and the factors that influence it. Unpicking the social, economic and political determinants of inequality is something the Faculty is ideally placed to tackle. This event enables us to apply this all to a specific policy challenge in understanding and tackling organised crime along with our international colleagues.”
Sights and sounds of the Domitiana
This weekend’s conference will also be a forum for a new, emotive, photographic installation featuring images from Italian photographer, Giovanni Izzo. Over 50 evocative black and white images depicting everyday life for individuals living around the Domitiana – a major artery road around Caserta that has become synonymous with crime and violence - will present a visceral account of the realities of life for people living in an area influenced by organised crime in that part of Italy. The pictures will be accompanied by sounds recorded from the street.
‘The Domitiana, everyday organised crime and life: Sounds and images from a road’ runs from Friday 7 – Wednesday 12 July in 3 West North 3.8. Giovanni Izzo and Luca Palermo will both be on hand to field questions about the exhibition on 7 - 8 July. The exhibition is part of the Faculty Research Arcade series – an initiative to profile in stand-out ways the ways in which Humanities & Social Sciences research makes an impact.
The first general conference for the ECPR SCOG was in Naples in December 2015. The next ECPR SGOC-sponsored event will take place at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus in April 2018 at the ECPR Joint Sessions, where there will be a workshop on 'Islands of Organised Crime: Spatiality, Mobility and Confinement’.
If you found this interesting, you might also enjoy reading:
- Dons of a different kind: researching the Mafia - THE Feature, February 2017
- Shining light on the Mafia to tackle organised crime - December 2015
- Policing the Mafia: the activities of the Camorra - Impact case study 2014