I am Associate Professor in International Relations at the Pisa-based Scuola Universitaria Superiore Sant'Anna (2009 to date). I am also adjunct research professor at the Oslo-based NUPI (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs), and at the Bologna-based SAIS Europe, The Johns Hopkins University. I specialize in International Relations theories and IR-related fields such as conflict studies, with a specific focus on European security, state-building, extra-legal governance and transnational organized crime. My main areas of expertise are European Union peripheries and neighborhood (Balkans, North Africa & the Sahel, Caucasus, Black Sea, Middle East).
Until 2008 I held a tenured position of Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam. Between 2001 and 2005 I lectured at the Department of Politics, Institution and History of the University of Bologna.
I completed my laurea in political science in 1994 (University of Bologna). After a post-graduate diploma (SAIS-BC 1996) and a Master in Conflict Analysis (NPSIA, Carleton U. Ottawa 1997), I received a Ph.D. from the European University Institute (EUI Florence, 2003) with a dissertation on security-building measures in protracted ethnonational conflicts. I have extensive experience as a trainer for civilian personnel in international peace missions.
I work on international security, broadly defined. My main research focus is on the nexus between informal/criminal practices, armed conflict and processes of social and political change. I work on organised crime, (counter)narcotics, arms and armed groups along Europe's borderlands and borderlands peripheries. I am interested in extra-legal governance, political extremism/violence, post conflict development, peace-building and state-building.
At NUPI I work with the Research Group on Security and Defense, with the Consortium for Research on International Crime and Terrorism. Im also affiliated with the Oslo-based Center for Research of Extremism (C-REX) and with the Global Initiative for the Fight against Transnational Crime. I am a member of the Associazione il Mulino.
Other specific research projects I'm contributing to:
H2020 - Europe as a Global Actor: Societal Challenges (INT5): Good intentions, mixed results A conflict sensitive unpacking ofthe EU comprehensive approach to conflict and crises mechanism (EUNPACK - WP coordinator)
SAFTE - Studying the acquisition of illicit firearms by terrorists in Europe (DG Home)
FRAGVENT - Fragile states and violent entrepreneurs: conflict, climate, refugees (Norwegian Research Council)
The Sahel the geopolitics of conflict, collusion and collaboration (MoD Norway)
DOC:PRO The Duty of Care: Protecting Citizens Abroad (SAMRISK II, Norway).
Governance Beyond the Law: The Immoral, The Illegal, The Criminal (co-editor, with A. Polese, A. Russo) Palgrave Macmillan 2019
Terrore Sovrano. Stato e Jihad nell’Era Post-Liberale (with Marina Calculli), Bologna: Il Mulino, 2017.
Notte Balcanica. Guerre, Crimine, Stati Falliti alle Soglie d'Europa. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2008.
Costruire la pace fra Stato e Territori. I Dilemmi del Peacebuilding. Trento: Erickson, 2014 (Co-editor, co-author of Introduction).
Mercati di Guerra. Rapporto di Ricerca su Finanza, Povertà, Ambiente e Conflitti Dimenticati. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2012. (Co-editor, author of ch. 1. Verso un'era post-liberale?).
Guerre alla Finestra. Rapporto di Ricerca su Conflitti Dimenticati, Guerre Infinite e Terrorismo Internazionale. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2005. (Co-editor, author of ch. 1: Le mappe globali della Violenza Organizzata, pp. 27-57).
La Pace Intrattabile. Kosovo 1999-2000: Una Radiografia del Dopo-Bombe, Asterios, Trieste, 2000 (Editor, author of Introduction, Conclusions. Translated as Kosovo: The Intractable Peace, by EUI-Robert Schuman Center, on-line 2001-2004).
peer-reviewed journal articles
“Rigor mortis of the nation-state? The EU and the stabilisation of the Sahelo-Saharan region,” (with L. Raineri) under revision, Ethnopolitics, special issue forthcoming 2019.
“Fragile data for fragile identities: understanding radicalisation and conflict in fragile states,” (with L. Raineri), under revision, Security Dialogue
“Securitization of Research: Fieldwork under new Restrictions in Darfur and Mali” (with M. Peter) Third World Quarterly, Vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 1531-1550, 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2016.1256766
“State, Secession and Jihad: The Micro-political Economy of Conflict in North Mali (with L. Raineri), African Security, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2015, pp. 249-271.
“Introduction: Rethinking Challenges to State Sovereignty in Mali and Northwest Africa,” with B. Whitehouse, African Security, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2015, pp. 213-226.
“Captured or Capturing? Narcotics and Political Instability along the ‘African Route’ to Europe,” European Review of Organized Crime, vol. 1, no. 2, 2014, pp. 5-34.
“A Deal Among Friends: Corruption in Post-Conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo,” (with R. Belloni), Third World Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 5, 2014, pp. 855-871. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2014.921434
“US homeland, EU archipelago? Convergence and Divergence on Transnational Organized Crime” (with A. Russo). European Security, 2014 – DOI 10.1080/09662839.2014.933207
“Libyan Arms and Regional Instability,” International Spectator, Vol. 49, No. 3, 2014, pp. 54-68
“ ‘Tesco for Terrorists’ Reconsidered: Arms and Conflict Dynamics in Libya and in the Sahara-Sahel Region,” (with S. Tholens) European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 2014 – vol. 20, no. 3 (2014), pp. 343-360.
"The Informal and the Criminal: State-Building as an Extralegal Field", Südosteuropa, vol. 60, no. 4 (2012), pp. 576-590
“High Stakes, Low Strategies: the European Union and the Fight against Transnational Organised Crime in State-building Missions,” (with F. Coticchia), Interdisciplinary Political Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, 2012, pp. 8-22.
“Hybrid Economies and Statebuilding: on the Resilience of the Extralegal,” (with B. Kamphuis) Global Governance, vol. 18, no. 1, 2012, pp. 57-72.
“Another Nakba: Weapons Availability and the Transformation of the Palestinian National Struggle, 1987-2007” (with S. Tholens), International Studies Perspectives, vol. 11, no. 2, 2010, pp. 112-130.
“Pan-Albanian vs Trans-Albanian Spaces: The Urban Dimension of the Albanian Question,” Southeastern Europe, vol. 33, No. 1, 2009, pp. 77-99.
“L’Oeuvre au Noir: The Shadow Economy of Kosovo’s Independence,” International Peacekeeping, vol. 15, no. 2, 2008, pp. 155-170.
“Sustainable Peace Between Frozen Conflicts and Messy Aftermaths: Reality and Chimeras,” Human Security Perspectives, no. 2, 2008, pp. 45-65.
“The Decade Horribilis. Organized Violence and Organized Crime along the Balkan Peripheries: 1991-2001,” Mediterranean Politics, vol. 12, no. 2, 2007, pp. 185-209.
“The Sack of Mostar, 1992-1994. The Politico-Military Connection,” (with N. Bjelakovic), European Security, vol. 8, 1999, pp. 73-102.
“The shadow of violence and intervention: war as an extralegal deal,” in Simona Leila Talani, Roberto Roccu, The Dark Side of Globalisation, Palgrave, 2019
“Preparing for the Unknown: Fieldwork Preparation and Risk Assessment for Research in Hostile Environments” (with. K. Koehler, S. Lefebvre, D. Masterson), in SAFEResearch Handbook for Fieldwork in Risky Environment, 2019, Univ. of Goteborg
“Present at state (un)making: Understanding organized crime in the Sahel-Sahara region,” (with G. Zanoletti), in F. Allum and S. Gilmous (eds.), Handbook on organised crime and politics, Edward Edgar Publishing, 2019.
“Caring, protecting and disciplining: the surveillance of social science researchers in the dangerhood," (with A. Russo) in Halvard Leira, Nina Graeger, The duty of care: protecting citizens abroad, Palgrave, 2019
“Between organised crime and terrorism: illicit firearms actors and market dynamics in Italy” (with F. Zampagni). In N. Duquet (ed.), Triggering Terror: Illicit Gun Markets and Firearms Acquisition of Terrorist Networks in Europe, Brussels: Flemish Peace Institute, 2018.
“Illicit firearms circulation and the politics of upheaval in North Africa” (with F. Zampagni). In N. Duquet (ed.), Triggering Terror: Illicit Gun Markets and Firearms Acquisition of Terrorist Networks in Europe, Brussels: Flemish Peace Institute, 2018
“Foreign Fighters as a Challenge for International Relations Theory”, in Andrea de Guttry, Francesca Capone and Chrisopher Paulussen (eds.), Foreign Fighters under International Law and Beyond, ASSER/Springer Verlag 2015, pp. 49-62.
“The Libyan arsenal and trafficking dynamics” (with M. Kartas and R. Tabib), in Small Arms Survey Yearbook 2015, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press 2015.
“Lo spazio prossimo della guerra, in Caritas Italiana, Cibo di Guerra: Quinto rapporto sui conflitti dimenticati, Bologna, Il Mulino, 19-46, 2015.
“Nationalism and Civil Society Organizations in Post-Independence Kosovo” (with E. Selenica),in Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic, James Ker-Lindsay and Denisa Kostovicova (eds.) Civil Society and Transitions in the Western Balkans. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 117-134.
“The Phantom Manace: Transnational Organized Crime” (with F. Coticchia), in Paul Stubbs and Christophe Solioz (eds.), Towards Open Regionalism in the South East Europe. Baden Baden, Nomos 2012, pp. 147-174.
“Multi-stakeholder Partnerships in DDR and SALW-Control?Local Ownership, Norms and Human Security” (with S. Tholens), in Michael Brzoska, Hans-Georg Ehrhart, Jens Narten:Multistakeholder Security Partnerships.A Critical Assessment with case studies from Afghanistan, the DR of Congo and Kosovo. Baden Baden, Nomos 2011.
“Il Kosovo nel quadro politico internazionale” in Laura Pineschi (ed.),La questione del Kosovo nella sua dimensione internazionale. Profili storici, economici,politici e giuridici. Parma, MUP 2011.
“Guerre: conflitti globali e conflitti localientry” for Dizionario Storico. Roma, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Treccani, 2010.
“The Private Security Industry in the Post-War Balkans: a Blank in Security Sector Reform Strategies”, (with S. Tholens), in Giampiero Giacomello and Craig R. Nation (eds.), Security in the West: Evolution of a Concept. Milan, Vita e Pensiero (and Cornell Univ. Press) 2009, pp. 134-139.
“Guerre, conflitti ambientali e crisi umanitarie complesse” (with L. Fontana). In Caritas Italiana, Nell'Occhio del Ciclone. Rapporto di ricerca su ambiente e povertà, emergenze e conflitti dimenticati.Bologna, il Mulino 2009.
“Between ethnic collision and mafia collusion: the Balkan Route to state making.” In Dietrich Jung, Shadow Globalization, Ethnic Conflicts and New Wars. A Political Economy of Intra-state Wars. London, Routledge 2003.
“Nagorno Karabakh: from nobodys to everybodys intervention,” in S. Bianchini and S. Woodward, From the Adriatic to the Caucasus: Viable Dynamics of Stabilization. Rome, CEMISS Centro Militare Studi Strategici, 2003.
“Tempi e spazi violenti. Alcune note preliminari circa lo studio della violenza etnica lungo le periferie del sud-est europeo,” in Gustavo Gozzi and Fabio Martelli, Guerre e minoranze. Diritti delle minoranze, conflitti interetnici e giustizia internazionale nella transizione alla democrazia dellEuropa Centro-orientale. Bologna, Il Mulino, 2004.
“La polveriera che non esplose: la Repubblica Autonoma di Crimea,” 1991-2000 in Stabilite Instabilità dall'Adriatico al Caucaso, Centro Militare di Studi Strategici Longo Editore, 2002.
“Intervento, autoderminazione e criminalità transnazionale nella regione balcanica,” in S. Bianchini, M. Dass, Guida ai Paesi dellEuropa Centrale, Orientale e Balcanica. Bologna, Il Mulino 2002.
Chapters 1, 2, 4. in Stefano Bianchini, Repubblica di Macedonia. Roma, Centro Militare di Studi Strategici 2001.
“La Repubblica Autonoma di Crimea fra stato ucraino, nazione tatara e identità russa,” in Silvia Matteucci, ed., Il Nazionalismo. Culture Politiche, Mediazione e Conflitto. Ravenna, Longo Editore 2000.
“Repubblica di Macedonia FYROM 1998”. In S. Bianchini, M. Dassù, Guida ai Paesi dellEuropa Centrale, Orientale e Balcanica, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999.
“Repubblica di Macedonia FYROM 1997”, in S. Bianchini, M. Dassù, Guida ai Paesi dell'Europa Centrale, Orientale e Balcanica. Milano, Guerini ed ass., 1998.
“Ruolo e compiti delle NGOs” and "lI fattore religioso in Bosnia.” In Silvia Matteucci and Senada Bhato, Bosnia-Erzegovina. Roma, Centro Militare di Studi Strategici, 1999.
“Macedonia: Identity and Statehood in a Fluid Regional Order”, in M. Opalski, Managing Diversity in Plural Societies: Ethnopolitical Relations in Post-communist Eastern Europe. Ottawa, Centre for Foreign Policy Development, 1998.
The implementation of EU Crisis Response in Libya: Bridging theory and practice (with C. Loschi and L. Raineri), EUNPACK Research report 6.02 – 2018. Available at: wwww.eunpack.eu
Jihadism in Mali and the Sahel: Evolving dynamics and patterns – EU Institute for Security Studies Brief 21, 2017 (with L. Raineri)
Organized crime and fragile states: African variations, EU Institute for Security Studies Brief 8, 2017 (with L. Raineri)
How the EU is facing crises in its neighbourhood: Evidence from Libya and Ukraine, (with K. Ivashchenko-Stadnik; R. Petrov; L. Raineri; P. Rieker; A. Russo. Available at: www.eunpack.eu
“Organised crime,” in M. Peter (ed.) UN Peace Operations: Aligning Principles and Practice. A Compendium of Research. NUPI Report no. 2, 2015
Azawad and the rights of passage: the role of illicit trade in the logic of armed group formation in northern Mali. Clingendael/NOREF Research Report, January 2015
“We saw it coming: challenges for EU counter-terrorism” (with E. Stambol), NUPI brief 2015.
The Sahel as Ungoverned Space? Smuggling and Trafficking in a Hybrid Security Order (with Luca Raineri and Greg Shuck). Interim Report for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. College
analysis and commentary
Fra metaterrorismo e sicurezza algoritmica, Questione Giustizia, special issue 2016.
LISIS: molta guerra poco stato, il Mulino, no. 2, April 2016.We saw it coming: challenges for EU counter-terrorism (with E. Stambol), NUPI brief2015.
Il deserto di Pandora, Limes, no. 3, 2015
Il pericoloso ritorno della geopolitica, Pagina 99, 14 March 2014
Golpe a Bamako, Limes, no. 6, November 2012.
Ventanni dopo, nella ex Jugoslavia, il Mulino, no. 1, January 2012.
Bilanci in Difesa. In Italia, la correzione di rotta, Formiche, vol. 7, no. 67, 2012.
I Balcani, una via tortuosa per l'Europa, il Mulino, no. 4, September 2008
Il Kosovo sommerso, LiMes,no. 2, 2008.
Il fattore illecito e le indipendenze Balcaniche, Aspenia, no. 40, March 2008.
Lo Status del Kosovo e quello dellUnione Europea, il Mulino, no. 6, December 2007
Along the Borders of the Albanian Question: Nationalism and City-Networks, Conflict in Focus (Jordan)no. 14, 2006.
Il neobolivarismo di Chavez alla resa dei conti, LiMes,No. 3, 2003.
Zagabria si schiera, anzi no, LiMes,no. 2, 2003.
La battaglia di Ramallah, LiMes,No. 2, 2002.
Il triangolo macedone, LiMes, No. 2, 2001.Geopolitica delle mafie jugoslave, LiMes Speciale, 2000.
La Croazia si riscopre balcanica, LiMes, No. 3, 2000.
The politics of education, national mobilization and state sovereignty in the Balkans: a forward-looking glance at the past, EUI Review, Summer 2000.
Otro daño colateral? El conflicto de Kosova/o y el futuro de Macedonia (with L. Rodriguez-Piero Royo), MeridianoCERI, No. 27, Junio 1999.
De Kosovo a Kosova, y vuelta a empezar, in MeridianoCERI, No. 23, Octubre 1998.
L'intreccio perverso. Costruzione di identitnazionali e nazionalismi xenofobi nellEuropa Sud-Orientale, book review in Ricerche di Storia Politica, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2002.
Due, Tre, Mille Macedonie, LiMes, No. 2, 1999. Macedonia: Requiem per uno Stato-caserma, LiMes Speciale, 1999.
Gloria Russa, Nazione Tatara e Stato Ucraino: La Crimea nello Spazio Post-Sovietico, Europe & the Balkans occasional paper, Longo, Ravenna, 1998
I teach International Relations theories and IR-related courses that reflect my research interests: war and strategic studies, security studies, critical geopolitics, polical violence, and transnational organised crime.
I am a board member of the PhD Transnational Governance jointly offered in Florence by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and the Scuola Normale Superiore.
I coordinate a MSc in International Security Studies jointly organised by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and the University of Trento.
At SAIS Europe I teach a course on the (geo)politics of transnational organised crime.
I supervise graduate students and PhD candidates in various IR subfields. Beside supervising research of two research fellows (Luca Raineri and Mattia Grandi), I am the referent for a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action: “Non-Western Military Interventions and the Character of Warfare in the European Periphery” (Edwards Stoddard)
academic conventions | policy workshops | public talks
Panel co-organiser: Radicalization and counter-terrorism in Africa. Governance in ‘ungoverned spaces’ between absentee, clientelist and abusive state practice. 12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Prague 12/15 September 2018
“Hybrid orders and stabilisation efforts in the Sahelo-Saharan space” (with L. Raineri), Low Expectations? Stabilization and stability operations as the ‘new normal’ in international interventions– International Workshop, Trento 2-3 February 2018.
Session co-convenor (Islands of Organised Crime: Spatiality, Mobility and Confinement), 2018 ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, Nicosia 14-18 April 2018.
NATO and Shared Security Challenges in the South: Understanding Drivers of Instability," 9-10 April 2018 – NATO Joint Force Command HQ Naples
“Before leaving for risky research environment”, SAFEResearch Workshop, Swedish Institute of Athens, 24-28 January 2018
Workshop co-organizer, Conducting social science research in risky envoronments, RSCAS-Middle East Directions Programme, European University Institute, 19 January
Radicalisation in the Sahel, Beyond Borders and States – Annual Middle East Directions Programme – 5-6 July, European University Institute.
Le spinte delle regioni sub-sahariane, - Mediterraneo 2035, La trasformazione degli scenari geopolitici. Rome, CRiSSMA, 22 June 2017.
Program chair and discussant: Africa’s international relations: between foreign actors and external projection, 1 March 2017. Brussels: Egmont Institute
Program chair and Discussant: African Security: between fragility and resilience. 22 March 2017, EUISS Paris
Program chair and Discussant, EU-Africa Strategic Dialogue, 4 April 2017. Rabat: OCP Policy Centre
Program chair and Discussant: EU-Africa Strategic Dialogue, 29-30 June 2017, Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
Shadow governing the eternal city, at 1st General Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Organized Crime, Naples, 10-11 December 2015.
Non-Conventional Violence and Crime, SSRC-NOREF workshop, New York, 1 December 2015
Interactive Brainstorm Informal Economies in Fragile Environments, 23 November 2015
Session co-convenor: The good, the bad and the ugly - Exploring boundaries between the informal, the criminal and the immoral 4th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) Cardiff, 07-10 June 2017
“Crime and war,” Non-Conventional Violence and Crime Workshop, Conflict Prevention & Peace Forum/NOREF workshop, Princeton Club, New York, 1 December 2015
“Extralegal economies and conflict in North Africa,” Informal Economies in Fragile Environment, Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law, The Hague, 23 November 2015
“Security challenges in and around the Sahel,” EUISS/Luxembourg Presidency seminar Building security in the Sahel: European, regional and local approaches, 10 September 2015
“Violence on Knowledge: Conflict research around safety and security restrictions in Darfur and Mali” - 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (EISA), 23-26 September, Giardini Naxos
Lavanzata di IS: inarrestabile? Il punto dopo il vertice di Parigi della coalizione internazionale Milan, ISPI, 2 June 2015.
State sponsorship and criminal protection: evidence from comparative research International conference Armed violence, organized crime and politics in Latin America,Centre for Development and Environment (SUM), University of Oslo: 22-23 November 2014
Mali and the Sahel: Insurgencies, Illicit Economies and State Responses with Morten Boas and Bruce Whitehouse NUPI, Oslo: 31 October 2014
New armed actors in the Sahel International Conference World War and International Relations 1914-21014? Autonomous University of Lisbon: 2-3 July 2014.
The geopolitical impact of organized crime in the Sahara-Sahel region: what do we know? KRIPOS (Kriminalpolizei), Oslo: 13 June 2013.
African droits de passage: drug smuggling, state un-making and re-making in Mali, ISSDP Annual Conference, Rome May 21-23, 2014.
Security models and security identity: the Eu and the fight against organized crime, ECPR Joint Sessions. Salamanca: 10-15 April 2014
Captured or capturing? Narcotics along the African route to Europe International seminar Armed violence, organized crime and politics in Latin America. UNAM, Mexico 8 April 2014.
The fight against organized crime in the Balkans. SSRC Policy Workshop The impact of the drugs trade and international crime:The European experience. Brussels, 15 November 2013.
Sovereignty without borders: Geopolitical imaginary in northern Mali, 55th ISA Annual Convention, March 26-29, Toronto.
Conflict trends in West Africa, International workshop, NUPI, Oslo: 31 January 2014
Post-conflict transition in Mali: the role of the military, 10th International Security Forum Geneva, April 22-24, 2013.
Along Europes supply lines: narcotics and stability (with F. Coticchia) XIX ISA annual conference San Francisco, April 3-6, 2013
Hybrid post-conflict orders and extralegal economies talk at Sabanci University,Istanbul 2 January 2012.
Hybrid economies and statebuilding: resilience despite intrusiveness (with B. Kamphuis) XVII ISA annual conference Montreal, March 16-19, 2011
Challenges for statebuilding research beyond the legal and the official, London School of Economics and Political Science, London. Research on State-building in the Western Balkans: Comparative Methodologies. 10 December 2010
The Phantom Manace: Organized Crime and ESDP Missions (with F. Coticchia), XVI ISA Annual Conference, New Orleans, February 16-18, 2010
Parallel societies: nationalism and civil society organizations in post-independence Kosovo, LSE Workshop For Better of Worse: Civil Society and Transitions in the Western Balkans LSE 7 May 2010.
The Phantom Manace: Organized Crime and ESDP Missions (with F. Coticchia) ISA Annual Conference, New Orleans, February 17-19, 2010
Fire under the sand: shadow globalization and the second Tuareg rebellion in the Western Sahel. ABRI-ISA Conference, Rio de Janeiro, July 22-24, 2009.
I engage in analysis and commentary in the press, on the public news channel RAINEWS24 and on public national and international radios.
Media contact areas:
– armed conflict, political violence in MENA region (esp. Libya, Mali, Syria)
– EU internal & external+//3//Q-security policies (esp. organised crime, terrorism)
– geopolitics of European borderlands (incl. Balkans, Ukraine)