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Mr Giacomo Orsini


Born in Padua in 1982, since 2005 I lived in diverse European and non-European cities. First I lived one year in the Spanish town of Valencia as an Erasmus exchange student to move later in Burgos for a six months volunteering experience assisting people affected by Autism syndrome. After two years spent in Bologna studying at the local university I went to Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla for a four months field-work study to asses the local impact of the construction and management of the European external border. Few months later I moved to Malta for another similar period of time to conduct a very analogous investigation. Latern I went to the Dutch city of Groningen for the first semester of my Erasmus Mundus Master of Arts in Euroculture, followed by other five months spent in the Polish city of Krakow studying at the European Studies center of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, to conclude with a four months research track in India at the University of Pune.


- 1st of July 2011: Guf-100 Prize as the Student of the Year of the faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen: http://www.euroculturemaster.org/News/2011/Orsini_Student_of_the_Year_Groningen.aspx

- 25th of March 2011: Erasmus Mundus MA in Euroculture(University of Groningen, Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Pune University)

- 20th of March 2009: Master degree in Local and International Cooperation and Development (University of Bologna)

- 19th of March 2006: Bachelor Degree in International Relations and Human Rights (University of Padova)

Research interests

European Fishery, Identity, Migrations, Border Studies, Postcolonial Theories, Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, European Integration


- Giacomo Orsini and Silvia Schiavon (2011), “The Island of the ‘timeless’. Malta: from an Island to a borderland. Europeanization and its effects on the conditions of migrants”, EURO-FACTA Jagiellonian University of Krakow (Europe: beyond the borders, within the limits), n° 4;

- Giacomo Orsini (2011), “On the border of knowledge(s). Discussing Eurocentrism, Postcoloniality and Postcolonialism at the Department of Sociology of Pune University, India”, Euroculture Journal, University of Pune, India, n° 1;

- Giacomo Orsini and Silvia Schiavon (2009), “Melilla, città europea nel continente africano. Cronache dalla frontiera spagnola in Marocco (Melilla, European city in the African continent. Chronicles from the Spanish border in Morocco)”, Studi Culturali, n°3, December 2009, pp. 479 497;

SupervisorDr. Yasemin Soysal & Dr. Darren Thiel
Thesis titleFishing along the European external border. Fishery and the European union in Europe’s Distant Islands: the Lampedusa and the Fuerteventura case studies.

 When sociologically involving individuals as subject of the investigation, the focus of European studies has been for the very majority of the cases concentrated on European or national elites and policy makers as well as on relatively intangible issues such as the definition of a still undefined European identity. Somehow, European society has been left aside as a sort of external factor capable to determine through its own consent nothing more than the speed of the process of European integration. In this picture where any effort is concentrated on the more top-down dimension of the complex process of European integration, a more ground-level sociological study of how European citizens experience the EU is missing. Such a restricted approach helps reinforcing and reproducing a perception of European integration as an elite project detached from everyday reality. However, even tough the EU can be still seen as a never-ending process of institutional construction, nowadays we can also speak of Europe as an established polity producing real effects in people’s daily lives: time has come to start looking to the outcomes that such an institution has on citizens rather than focusing exclusively on what this institution is.

Inside this frame then, what this study aims to analyze is whether and how the EU affect the daily life dimension of European citizens: to do so, well established European policies need to be taken into account. Especially on the basis of this last consideration, the investigation will focus two small-scale fishing populations living along the European external border in the Italian islands of Lampedusa and in the Spanish one of Fuerteventura. Local fishermen activities as well as their lives in the islands are indeed profoundly regulated and influenced by two of the deeper established EU policies: the Common Fishery Policy - CFP - on the one side, and the European external border management on the other. Fishery is one of the economic sectors more strictly regulated and largely subsidised by the EU inside the frame of the CFP, a significant area of Community activity consisting of a collection of more than seven hundred regulations concerning: the common organization of the market, structural policies of modernization of the European fishing fleet and conservative measures to balance overfishing by promoting a more rational exploitation of resources. By being an extremely controversial policy - especially for small-scale fisheries - it also represents one of the main source of subsidies for European fisheries, as well as a coordinated project aiming to save the future availability of fish in European waters. As for the European external border management instead, this policy area directly derives from the construction of the Schengen space of free movement of people being thus at the very centre of the building of European citizenship. For isolated spots of the European territory located few kilometres away from the coasts of Africa - as it is the case of the two islands object of this study - to become part of this widening European external edge comported numerous consequences. First of all in fact, as a direct consequence of becoming part of the Schengen territory, since the end of the 1990s thousands of boat-migrants coming from the coast of Africa suddenly begun to reach the two islands. On the other side, the EU responded to this phenomena by building local migrants detention centres as well as by militarizing the sea-border through diverse coordinated military operations organized by FRONTEX, and in general generating a sort of permanent state of emergency in the islands.

Thus, by two periods of study of four to five months per island, this investigation aims to asses the combined impacts that these two policies have on local small-scale fishing communities. The field-work will mainly consist of around twenty in-depth interviews with local small-scale fishermen per island. Also, their families will be included into the investigation through numerous relatively informal talks. This will be accompanied by a constant process of ethnographic observation as well as a consistent number of structured-interviews with local stakeholders - fishery organizations, cooperatives and associations; coast guard; local administration and so like - and policy makers in Brussels.


- Presentation of the paper "Becoming border. Dynamics and effects of the building of the European external border in a recently accessed EU member state: the Malta case study" at the UACES conference Exchanging Ideas on Europe 2012, University of Passau, 3-5 September 2012 [University of Passau, Innstraße 41, Passau, 94032 (DE)]

- Presentation of the project-paper "Becoming border. Dynamics and effects of the building of the European external border in a recently accessed EU member state: the Malta case study" at the University of Warwick's postgraduate interdisciplinary conference on Marginal Cartographies, University of Warwick, Department of Sociology, 28 April 2012 [Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL (UK)]

- Presentation of the research project "Europe from its border: Citizenship, Migration and the perception of Europe in Europe’s distant islands. The Lampedusa and the Lanzarote case studies" at the University of Essex Department of Sociology’s 25th Graduate Conference, 23 February 2012 [The White Lion Hotel, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5BJ (UK)]

- Presentation of the paper “On the local effects of Europeanization. The consequences of Lithuania ’s and Poland’s accession to the EU in the Russian enclave/exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast” at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate Student Conference on the European Union, Pittsburgh University, 9 April 2011 [University Center for International Studies 4200 Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (US)];

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