The Working Group was set up on the back of many years of research carried out within the Department of Sociology and Social Research at the University of Milan-Biccoca into the social questions of urban security, deviance and organised crime in its various forms. The group’s original goal was to promote a multidimensional approach to analysing issues of security, lack of security, deviance and organised crime that moved beyond mere examination of the criminal issues per se to encompass a number of areas of our daily lives that can have a profound impact on every individual’s perception of security. The two main, interrelated areas of research are urban security and organised crime.
(1) The urban security area of research aims to focus on aspects where security is lacking and on analysing the structures of organisation and criminality most relevant to sociological issues, specifically: changing lifestyles and social needs within the population; changing urban contexts and the resulting difficulties in integrating new and old “inhabitants”, the emergence of new forms of social exclusion and vulnerability in contemporary societies; the growing demand for security from the population and variously appropriate responses from the institutions; the changes in those involved at various levels in urban security policy and practice; and the definition of and changes to the forms and models of deviance and analysis of social structures and legislative responses.
(2) The organised crime area of research aims to analyse the principal transformations in the Italian mafias and other forms of organised crime. In line with a socio-organisational perspective, particular attention will be paid to the following factors and organisational dimensions: strategies, change and evolution; structures with a comparative analysis of differences and ongoing transformations; the legal and illegal markets and new markets; the methods of selection and recruitment of new members; expansion into non-traditional areas, particularly in Northern Italy; relations with external entities (white-collar and business) and methods and actions aiming to combat criminal phenomena.
In addition to carrying out scientific research, the working group plans to implement (1) public discussions and communication on the topics of research, through conferences, seminars with experts and presentations at national and international conferences; (2) networking with other scientific and training institutes, in Italy and abroad, and with organisations and institutions dedicated to monitoring and combating the issues on which the research is focused (municipalities and local bodies, regional government, the Italian Anti-Mafia Directorate, District Anti-Mafia Directorate, Italian Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate, and others), and (3) research with funds and projects organised by other public and private entities.