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Migrating ‘Ndrangheta: cultural bias and cultural differences in the polici...

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The University of Western Australia

Austin Lecture Theatre

35 Stirling Hwy

Crawley, WA 6009

Australia

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MIGRATING ‘NDRANGHETA: CULTURAL BIAS AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN THE POLICING OF THE CALABRIAN MAFIA BETWEEN ITALY AND AUSTRALIA

A public lecture by Dr Anna Sergi, Lecturer in Criminology, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK.

International media and popular culture have been perpetuating the presumption that criminals of Calabrian origins around the world must belong to, and replicate the structure of, the mafia-type Calabrian ‘ndrangheta clans in Italy. This presumption has been largely confirmed by Italian authorities and recently been considered by Australian ones. However, without analysis of the mechanisms of mafia mobility in the particular contexts of Australian cities and communities there is a danger of replicating awed conceptualisation of mafias as always hierarchical and monolithic from the USA while risking to miss the true nature of the Calabrian mafia phenomenon and its hybrid forms abroad.

This presentation will reflect upon contemporary challenges to police ethnic mafia-type organised crime groups
across borders, when cultural traits of origins are deemed fundamental to the knowledge of the phenomenon, like in the case of the ‘ndrangheta. By looking at the way the Calabrian mafia is understood, conceptualised and contrasted in Italy and in Australia, this work will challenge stereotypes and bias from Italian authorities while also assessing the degree of cultural differences of the Calabrian clans abroad from the point of view of Australian law enforcement. The very core of this paper, therefore, is a reflection on the concepts of policing through cultural awareness, which requires an evaluation of concepts such as the culture and ethnicity within migrant groups as applied to behaviours typical of the “mafia method”, and with an attempt to overcome cultural relativism and ethnocentrism.

Dr 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, the Australian Institute of Criminology and the University of Montreal. Anna has published articles in various international peer-reviews journals and two books, one about the ‘ndrangheta and the ‘glocal’ dimensions of Calabrian mafia clans, and one of the policing of organised crime and mafias in Italy, UK, USA and Australia, both with Palgrave Macmillan. Currently, in 2017, she is working on a project on mafia mobility across Europe, Canada and Australia, funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust in the UK.

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The University of Western Australia

Austin Lecture Theatre

35 Stirling Hwy

Crawley, WA 6009

Australia

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