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Anna Sergi holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Essex, UK, an LLM in Criminal Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice from King’s College, London and a specialist law degree from the University of Bologna, Italy. As a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Essex, she specialises in organised crime and mafia studies, from different perspectives, privileging comparative research approaches in policing and criminal justice methods. She has been a visiting fellow in different institutions, among which New York University, Flinders University, University of Melbourne, and the Australian Institute of Criminology.
International media and popular culture have perpetuated the presumption that criminals of Calabrian origins around the world must belong to, and replicate the structure of, the mafia-type Calabrian ‘ndrangheta clans. This presumption has been largely confirmed by Italian authorities and recently been considered by Australian and Canadian ones. However, this importation of European policing models is in danger of replicating the flawed conceptualisation of organised crime as always hierarchical and monolithic from the USA while risking to miss the true nature of the Calabrian mafia phenomenon abroad.
This on-going research project, carried out in Australia and in Canada, and drawing from previous research on the topic, reflects upon the challenges and possibilities to understand the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta as a set of behaviours (‘ndranghetism) that can migrate and/or root abroad also thanks to exploitation of cultural traits from the territory of origin with specific references to Canadian and Australian experiences. Law enforcement often struggles to recognise culture and behaviours as relevant for investigations and oppose cultural approaches in fear of ethnic discrimination. The very core of this reflection, therefore, is a re-definition of the concepts of cultural policing, or policing through cultural awareness, of mafia behaviours in territories different from the ones of origin.
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