Anthropology of Crime and Security
Call for Panels

by Thomas Hoppenheit on November 27, 2021

First joint conference of the Anthropology of Crime and Criminalisation
(AnthroCrime) and the Anthropology of Security (ASN) EASA networks.

When: 17-19 May 2022
Where: University of Bologna, Department of History and Cultures (DISCI) – Bologna (Italy)

Deadline for panel proposal submission: 15 January 2022


As a result of current social, political and economic trends, anthropologists are
increasingly interested in security, crime, and criminalisation. The first jointly
organised conference between the Anthropology of Crime and Criminalisation
(AnthroCrime) and the Anthropology of Security (ASN) EASA networks aims to
explore the imbrication between crime and security, developing novel methodological
and theoretical approaches to their analysis.

Download the Call here, or read more below.


Inextricably connected in current governmental regimes across the globe, crime and
security have attained new characteristics under neo-liberal global conditions. Since
the 1980s, globalisation has created new flows of goods, capital, and people, often
blurring the line between legitimate entrepreneurs and criminals. Nevertheless, not
much has changed since the early days of criminal anthropology, as the public talk of
crime today rarely stigmatises white-collar workers or affluent entrepreneurs. Often,
people pushed to the margins of society (physically and symbolically) are blamed for
their own exclusion. Their presence is abused to construct new moral and societal
boundaries, enabling repressive policies at the expense of social interventions. A
security apparatus that challenges the boundaries between the public and the
private, the local and the international, affects everyone, whether victims of
criminalisation or consumers of old and new safety forms and technologies.
However, despite widespread alarmism, relatively little is known about these local
and interconnected forms of crime and their actual lived experiences and
trajectories. Statistical data tend to combine completely different social phenomena
(such as mafia, organised crime, traffickers, or street gangs) and their political,
economic and historical roots in an indistinct moral panic. Yet, claiming objectivity
and neutrality, security experts develop intricate technologies used to prevent,
pre-empt, and predict crime, moving towards an acclaimed ‘pre-crime society’ where
safety and crime risks are brought to negligible levels. Such technologies, already
used by police in many urban contexts, give birth to a plethora of ethical and political
issues. Through their integration into “smart” lifestyles, security and surveillance
systems permeate and colonise the most intimate realms of everyday life, eventually
exposed to cybercrime.
Different public and academic sectors call for new methodological approaches
(transnational, multi-sited, ethnographic) that offer ways to follow, chart and analyse
movements of people, capital and goods that are often represented in superficial
ways in media and political circles. In exploring and analysing the lived experiences
of actors otherwise described as perverse criminals or passive enforcers of the
state’s will, social and cultural anthropology have much to offer. However, there is
also a solid need to reinvigorate anthropology’s theoretical perspectives on crime
and security and to address the challenges that ethnographic methodology faces
when working on these issues (for instance, by integrating criminology, STS, or other
disciplines into an interdisciplinary framework).


In addition to several panels related to the anthropology of crime and security, the
conference will hold a workshop and a laboratory. The laboratory will be dedicated to
the challenges of doing ethnography in the field of security and crime, while the
workshop aims to facilitate future publications based on conference papers. Panels
will be organised offline/locally, while keynotes (speakers to be confirmed) will be
hybrid (addressing a local audience and broadcasted online). Attendees will need a
vaccination certificate valid in Europe or a COVID-19 test performed in Bologna
during the conference days to join the offline conference. These guidelines may
change closer to the conference due to public policy revisions.


If you are interested in participating in this conference, please fill in this form
with your panel proposal, of approximately 300 words, and a short biography.

A call for papers will be issued after the panels have been shortlisted.
In the tradition of EASA conferences, we strongly encourage proposals for joint
panels by scholars from different countries and/or institutions. We list below an
indicative and broad (but not exhaustive) list of possible panels topics:

  • Living within crime & insecurity: vigilantism, gated communities, cooperation, co-optation and resistance
  • Crime and criminalisation in national and international securitised contexts: social and socio-legal, political, phenomenological and historical analyses of organised crime and mafia, trafficking, gangs, youth delinquency, social bandits and criminal entrepreneurs
  • Securitised groups: lived experiences and resistance
  • Immigration, crime and criminalisation: revisiting the ‘crimmigration’ & security nexus
  • Crime talk, security talk and moral panic
  • Subjective feelings of crime, security and safety
  • Crime and security governmentalities
  • Prohibition and legalisation
  • Security & crime laws: shifts, debates, outcomes
  • Crimes of the powerful: state and corporate crimes, patrimonialism, clientelism, corruption and white-collar crimes
  • Policing, securitisation, and criminalisation
  • Criminalisation, securitisation and race, class, and gender
  • Digital (In)Security, Surveillance, Online Crime and Darknet
  • Surveillance capitalism: methods and theory
  • Surveillance technologies
  • Changing security and crime landscapes in pandemic times
  • Crossing (disciplinary) boundaries: Anthropology in dialogue with other (sub)disciplinary fields
  • Intersections between Criminology and Social Anthropology: theory and methods
  • Methodological and ethical issues (for the lab)

Deadline for panel proposal submission: 15 January 2022
For any further questions, please email:

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