Axis 4 - Major organized crime and emerging criminalities

Professor supervising the research axis: Dr. Clotilde Champeyrache (Cnam)

Associate researchers: Pr. Giuseppe Arlacchi, Pr. Louise Shelley (anciennement terrorisme), Dr. Rémy Février, Pr. Maurice Cusson, Dr. Frédéric Debove, Pr. Philippe Reigné, Dr. Arturo Alvarado, Pr.Jacques de Saint Victor.

Associate experts: Dr. Xavier Raufer, David Weinberger, Christophe Soullez.

According to the definition developed at the United Nations Convention in Palermo in 2000, organized crime is any "structured group of three or more persons, existing for a period of time and acting in concert with the aim of committing one or more serious crimes or offences established in accordance with this Convention, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit" (Article 2). This is a deliberately broad delimitation of the field to encompass the vast family of criminal organizations: from the most elaborate and powerful forms of Italian, Japanese and Chinese mafias, to the loosest forms constituted by gangs, through intermediate forms such as motorcycle gangs, drug cartels, traffickers of protected animal and plant species, etc.

Understanding the diversity and specificities of these different criminal organizations allows us to complete this definition. This includes the question of specialization or diversification of activities, but also the nature of the positioning with respect to the legal sphere (corruptive links, the need for money laundering, the trajectory of legalization, control of the territory and the will to condition the economic, political and social sphere,...). The problem of temporality also allows us to classify organizations and to establish a first diagnosis of dangerousness according to the capacity of the criminal association to last beyond the life span of its members and notably its leader.

Identifying the boundaries of criminal groups opens up a number of questions relating to the various structures of criminal organizations (network, pyramid, federation, etc.), to the adaptation of the means of fighting to the specificities of these groups, to their dynamics and their interactions, and even to their articulations from the point of view of both activities and territories. The dynamics of criminal organizations also take into account the appearance of new actors and the possible reconfigurations that this implies, and the development of new activities (cybercrime, waste trafficking,...) or the redeployment of old illegal practices (return of piracy for example).

Research Projects

Research project 1 - Mafias and territorial expansion strategies

Research project 2 - Criminal cohabitation

Research project 3 - Legal sphere and market of transgression