Global Crime

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to offer a reasoned historical and geographical map of the main criminal organizations operating on the international level, of their historical roots and of their different fields of action and development.
More specifically it aims to guide the student to a comparative rereading of the spread of organized crime from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present, emphasizing how this diffusion took place, according to different schemes, already before the affirmation of the same term "globalization".
The historical organizations of Italian origin, those of East Asia, those of the Balkans and Slavs, those of Africa and those of Latin America are therefore seen and explained in their basic characteristics, in their historical evolution and also in their succession at the top of the world hierarchy , placing their story within the more general contemporary history, from the late nineteenth century to today.
Expected learning outcomes
Through a clear and empirically based set of basic knowledge, the course intends to build an adequate level of awareness in the student, to be verified with adequate individual oral tests, about:
a) the importance that the phenomenon of organized crime and of criminal powers in general has assumed at a global level;
b) the extent to which it can affect economies and political and institutional systems, and the relations between states, especially in certain areas of the world.

More specifically, it aims to train the student in both adequate competence in terms of comparative analysis and the ability to grasp in the transformations of international scenarios the possible premises of new criminal dynamics and, in parallel, of new forms of cooperation (political, judicial, investigative ) to counter them.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Course syllabus
The course is developed through an analysis of the main organizations operating in the various continents on illegal markets: from that of protection / extortion to that of drugs, from that of usury to that of weapons, from trafficking in human beings to the disposal of waste toxic.
Observing the great historical scans that have brought these organizations in succession to the attention of governments and public opinion, he proceeds to a description of their most relevant characteristics: the historical and social backgrounds, the organizational features, the cultural codes, the sectors of activity illegal and formally legal, the capabilities of political influence, the phenomena of popular consensus that support them, the degrees of de facto legitimacy.
Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta, Japanese Yakuza, Chinese Triads, Colombian cartels, Russian and Balkan mafias, Mexican cartels, are studied in succession, looking for the alphabet useful to read and describe them, to arrive in the final part of the course to a comparative effort and to a principle of general historical explanation.
Prerequisites for admission
Recommended: Sociology of Organized Crime and Contemporary History exams
Teaching methods
Lessons, supplemented by testimonials and by a focus on the main results obtained in the current year by the international research projects promoted by the Observatory on Organized Crime of the University of Studies
Teaching Resources
Exam textbooks required
1) Nando dalla Chiesa (edited by), global Mafia. Criminal organizations in the world, Laurana, Milan, 2017; 2) Federico Varese, Life of the Mafia, Einaudi, Turin, 2017. Optional texts recommended for a critical study: one chosen from Salvatore Lupo, When the Mafia found America, Einaudi, Turin, 2008; Federico Varese, Mafias on the move, Einaudi, Turin, 2011; Anabel Hernandez, The land of narcos, Mondadori, Milan, 2014 (on the Mexican case);
Various Authors, The mafia circuit, Limes, Italian Geopolitics Review, November 2013 (monographic number);
Christian Ponti, Transnational crimes and international law, Giuffré, Milan, 2010.
Further didactic material will be offered within the course
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral test, with the aim of ascertaining the acquired mastery of basic knowledge of the subject, and the ability to reason on the international scenarios of organized crime in a diachronic perspective and with a comparative approach
Lessons: 40 hours