The Standing Group on Organised Crime (SGOC) is one of the standing groups of the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR). It was set up after a successful ECPR workshop entitled Organised Crime and the Challenge to Democracy at the Joint Sessions in Grenoble, France, in 2001. This workshop, which was attended by 10 academics from across Europe and whose discussions were later published in the edited volume of the same name (by F. Allum and R. Siebert, London: Routledge, 2003), demonstrated that there was a need for multidisciplinary, cross-country, academic-practitioner discussions and analyses. From this initial workshop, various projects were discussed and launched: in particular, a permanent Standing Group with an electronic newsletter and a website was established.
Between 2001 and 2004, the SGOC sought to find its identity, its voice, and new members from different sectors. The SGOC next met in Marburg, Germany, in September in 2004 at the ECPR 2nd General Conference where it organised a section entitled Organised Crime, Politics and the State and again in September 2007 in Pisa, Italy, where it organised the section Organised Crime defying the State which was published in the form of an edited volume (Defining and Defying Organised Crime. Discourse, Perceptions and Reality by F.Allum, F.Longo, D.Irrera, and P.A. Kostakos, London: Routledge, 2010).
The main objectives of these conferences were to discuss the latest research on organise crime and to give life to the SGOC and its members. From both these points of view, we can say that the conferences were a success. Indeed, on each occasion, these meetings have been an opportunity for the group to meet, to exchange ideas, to discuss projects, to clarify new findings, to make new comparisons, to meet new members, and to socialise. The meeting in Pisa in 2007 proved to be an important turning point not only because there were more panels than ever but also because at this conference it was decided for the SGOC to organise its very own summer schools, no small feat.
The newsletter was published online between 2002 and 2017 with outputs on topics such as “women and organised crime” and “organised crime in the Asian Pacific”. In 2005, a SGOC blog dedicated to organised crime was set up by Ludo Block (later run by Bill Tupman) in order to enable quick access to stories and information about organised crime, whether that be in the media or news of academic conferences. In 2018, not least due to our collaboration with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), we sponsor and contribute to The Informer, a blog that provides a platform for academics, policymakers and practitioners to discuss their work and research and to share their opinions on organised crime. The editorial board includes representatives from the University of Bath, Oxford University, the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo, Sofia University and Flinders University.
In between 2009-2018, the SGOC organised four Summer Schools (Catania-2009; Leuven-2010; Ohrid-2011; Catania-2014, and Vienna-2018). Funded by the ECPR and the European Commission, and with a lot of hard work by Francesca Longo, Daniela Irrera, Letizia Paoli, and Jana Arsovska, Yuliya Zabyelina and Panos Kostakos, these summer schools were very successful. They allowed a new generation of researchers and practitioners to engage with the topic of organised crime from a variety of different perspectives, disciplines, and nationalities. These summer schools also bought new blood to the SGOC.
Since 2012, the SGOC has been discussing many different projects. With a meeting in London in October 2012 the Steering Committee was renewed and new strategies were discussed.
The new SGOC constitution was approved at the ECPR General Conference in Bordeaux, September 2013, where the SGOC organised the section Transnational Organised Crime in a Globalised World.
The future looks bright!
The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) is an independent, scholarly association, established in 1970. It supports and encourages the training, research and cross-national co-operation of political scientists throughout Europe and beyond.
The ECPR currently has nearly 350 European institutional members and associate members in over 40 countries, from as far afield as New Zealand and Japan. These members together form a network of thousands of individual political scientists, international relations and European studies specialists.
For further information about the ECPR please follow this link: https://ecpr.eu/