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4th General Conference on Organised Crime 

4 – 6 July 2022, Pisa and Online

Crossing territorial and disciplinary (b)orders: empirical, analytical and policy perspectives on organised crime
Registration for participants is now closed!  Attending as an observer? Register here by Thursday 30 June.

In collaboration with the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, the Scuola Normale Superiore and the University of Pisa. our Standing Group on Organised Crime (SGOC) invites you to its hybrid 4th General Conference, taking place from 4 – 6 July 2022.

The Conference follows on from previous editions held in Naples (2015), Bath (2017), and Sofia (2019). In light of the logistical, security and budgetary challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the next edition will be held in person in Pisa and there will also be Panels taking place virtually. There will be no hyrbid Panels.

With a view to stimulating both scholarly debate and policy developments, the Conference offers a unique platform to collectively dissect, diagnose and discuss the characteristics, resources, strategies and modus operandi adopted by traditional and emerging criminal organisations operating both at the local and global levels, as well as the evolution of the responses at multiple levels and by different actors (international organisations, law enforcement, communities, social movements, etc.).

Please note that no mixed/blended Panels will be permitted. If you are part of a Panel taking place in Pisa, you will need to attend the Panel in-person.


About the conference

Emerging trends have delineated a new scenario, which raises unprecedented questions and challenges regarding organised crime. Shaking up reified conceptions, these changes invite to reconsider and update the empirical, analytical and policy frameworks through which organised crime is apprehended. Unheard articulations of in-security result from the overlapping, interlocked crises in the environmental, health, social and economic domains. The massive resort to emergency measures erodes rules-based decision-making and inhibits legal oversight. Authoritarian discourses and practices sediment across the world, paving the way to a global democratic backsliding.

At the same time, reduced legal pathways to social and physical mobility boost rising inequalities, which put the social pact under strain within and across countries. Enhanced geostrategic competition underpins a global rush to natural resources, fuelling extractivism and extralegal economies. Unfulfilled demands for social protection bring to the fore non-state actors as alternative providers of identity, legitimacy and protection. Hybrid orders emerge, shielding rulers from accountability and enabling rent-seeking and patronage politics.

Manifestations of organised crime intersect social worlds at all latitudes. Yet, in spite of the proliferation of national and international legal tools aimed at identifying, tracking and tackling organised crime, its securitization has to do with a moving target, whose contours change constantly. The elusive status of the evidence on organised crime and its manifestations challenges the epistemological and methodological foundations of the scholarly attempts to shed light on this opaque phenomenon.

Exactly how organised crime is a threat that may undermine societal institutions, economic prosperity, state order and global security, is a question that remains unsettled. Thus organised crime risks to remain an empty signifier lending itself to potentially dangerous manipulations. Juridical notions and criminological theories incorporate abstract categories that are often imported or stretched unscrupulously, clashing with vernacular understandings and practices. Forms of extra-legal governance may infiltrate and deepen the gulf between legality and legitimacy. Activities and identities defined as criminal are often not separate from, but deeply woven into the texture of ordinary social life, making the impact of criminal organisations on the production of dis-order highly contingent. 

We invite scholars, researchers, practitioners, civil society organisations and policy-makers from different backgrounds to share empirical insights, analytical framings and policy approaches contributing with fresh perspectives to the understanding of organised crime, with regard to the diversity of its contemporary manifestations.

The conference encourages the presentation of cutting-edge research from researchers at all stages of their careers, as well as from practitioners and policymakers.

The conference will be held as a hybrid event, with some Panels taking place in person in Pisa, and other Panels being held online. No mixed/blended panels will be permitted. All prospective participants will be asked to indicate, at the moment of subscription, whether they wish to participate in person or online.

We welcome Panel and Paper proposals that address the following topics:

  • Gangs, organised crime and mafia
  • Encounters and clashes or criminal organisations across the world
  • Criminalisation of mobility and mobile crime
  • Social movements and (the fight against) organised crime
  • Organised crime and community relations: protection, power regulation, service provision
  • Extralegal governance and organised crime
  • Organised crime and dis/order in the global peripheries
  • Contentious politics and organised crime
  • Ethnographic approaches to organised crime
  • Gender perspectives on organised crime
  • Race perspectives on organised crime
  • Vulnerable groups and organised crime
  • Organised crime and authoritarian regimes
  • Organised crime and violent extremism
  • Organised crime in art, fiction, culture and public perceptions
  • Corruption, patronage and hybrid orders
  • Organised crime, prisons and detention societies
  • Organised crime and the internet: cybercrime and surveillance
  • Environmental crime
  • Organised crime and finance: threats (money laundering and tax havens) and responses (freezing, forfeiture and social reuse of criminal assets)
  • International and European cooperation in the fight against organised crime
  • Strategies of resilience to organised crime: from police to community-led responses


Register for participants is now closed. If you don't have an accepted role or proposal but would still like to join the event as an online observer, register here before midnight BST on Thursday 30 June.

Have an accepted role or proposal?

Register for an in-person or virtual package as detailed here.

Not presenting a Paper but would still like to take part?

We have an online observer registration package available at reduced rates! You will be able to watch all online Panels along with some of our exciting plenary sessions taking place in Pisa.

Need further information?

Please contact the organisers.


We are actively planning to host a hybrid event with an in-person element in Pisa. However, should the face-to-face element of the event no longer be feasible, we are prepared to adopt a fully virtual format.

Stay tuned: Subscribe to our Events mailing list via My ECPR
Questions? Contact our Events Team

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