Research Staff

Mr Giacomo Orsini

Position in departmentSenior Research Officer and PhD student
Staff positionSenior Research Officer
Telephone3060 (non Essex users should add 01206-87 to the beginning of this number)

Giacomo Orsini is a lecturer on international migration at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, a PhD candidate of the Department of Sociology of the University of Essex and a visiting researcher at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. With a focus on the most empirical outcomes of European integration, he has conducted much fieldwork research along the European external border in Melilla, Malta, Lampedusa and Fuerteventura.


- 1st of July 2011: Guf-100 Prize as the Student of the Year of the faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen:

- 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

Maritime Sociology, Europeanisation, Border Studies, Postcolonial Theories, European Integration, Governance


Roos, C. Orsini, G. (2015) ‘How to Reconcile the EU border paradox? The Concurrence of Refugee Reception and Deterrence’ IES Policy Brief 4

Orsini, G. (2015) ‘Good policies need to be grounded in reality’. Up For Discussion – Zócalo Public Square.

Orsini, G. (2015) ‘Lampedusa: From a Fishing Island in the Middle of the Sea to a Tourist Destination in the Middle of Europe’s External Border’. Italian Studies 70(4): 521-536. Orsini, G. Fiott, D. (2015) 'Review - Malta in the European Union'. European Politics and Society 16(3): 457-458.

Orsini, G. (2015) ‘Focusing on Lampedusa risks distorting the debate over undocumented migration into the EU’. London School of Economics Blog on European Politics and Policies EUROPP.

Orsini, G. (2014) ‘Testing societal security at the border: the case of Lampedusa’. SOURCE Article.

Orsini, G. (2014) ‘The Common Fishery Policy vs fishermen’s good practices. Bottom-up strategies for a sustainable fishery: the case of the Fishermen Association of Gran Tarajal’. Working Paper 44th UACES Annual Conference Exchanging Ideas on Europe.

Orsini, G. Sferlazzo, G. Vecchi, I. (2014) ‘Lampedusa: A Cruel and Corrupt System’. Discover Society 8.

Orsini, G. (2014), ‘Un’isola in mezzo al confine: oltre il razzismo istituzionale e ritorno. Storie di pesca e migrazioni a Lampedusa’. In M. Grasso (ed.) Razzismi, Discriminazioni e Confinamenti. Roma: Ediesse, pp. 347-358.

Orsini, G. (2014) ‘Storie di pesca e migrazioni a Lampedusa’. StrumentiRES - Rivista online della Fondazione RES, Cultura e Società VI(1).

Orsini, G. Schiavon, S. (2013) ‘Becoming Border. Dynamics and Effects of the Building of the European External Border in a Recently Accessed EU Member State: the Malta Case Study’. Working paper EastBordNet Conference Relocating Borders: A Comparative Approach.

Orsini, G. (2011) ‘On the border of knowledge(s). Discussing Eurocentrism, Postcoloniality and Postcolonialism at the Department of Sociology of Pune University, India’. Euroculture Journal of the University of Pune 1.

Orsini G. Schiavon, S. (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 3: 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.

Based on 10 months’ qualitative fieldwork and the filming of a documentary conducted on the islands of Lampedusa and Fuerteventura, my thesis examines ground-level Europeanisation, concentrating on two well-established Communitarian policy frames -- the Common Fishery Policy (CFP) and the management of the external border of the Schengen space of free movement of people – and two populations of artisanal fishers who were exposed to them. It analyses how governmental logics operated on the ground through individuals’ engagement with Communitarian policies, and it reconstructs the major transformations that the two islands’ fishing industries underwent in the duree of more than fifty years of European integration.

While until less than thirty years ago the economy of the Italian island of Lampedusa was centred on bluefish fishing and canning industries, on the Spanish island of Fuerteventura most islanders lived from agriculture for centuries. Following the European integration of Italy and Spain, both islands turned into major tourist destinations and the centres of frequent European migration crises. By focusing on these two territories, this investigation explores how EU governance contributed to transforming the local sociocultural and economic fabric and the islanders’ everyday life.

Giving centrality to the marine element, I push the study of Europeanisation towards the sea and reveal how European policies had reconfigured the islanders’ relation with the seawaters surrounding them. Concurrently, by exploring the ways in which individuals interacted with EU governmentalities, I also unearth the several unintended consequences of Communitarian governance – as conservation policies aiming at recovering overfished fish stocks actually generated the conditions for increasing and uncontrolled overexploitation, while border policies for the securitisation of the European space de facto de-securitized life in Lampedusa.


10 June 2015: Presentation ‘Focusing on Lampedusa risks distorting the debate over undocumented migration into the EU’ for the panel ‘Lampedusa: the barbican of fortress Europe’ part of the Postgraduate Fair of the Queen Mary University, London (United Kingdom)

18 November 2014: Presentation ‘Marking and Providing Feedback Workshop’ as part of the UACES Student Forum Seminars: Teaching European Studies, Europe House, London, (United Kingdom)

22 November 2013: Presentation ‘Applying for Grants & Funding’ as part of the UACES Student Forum Seminars, Swedenborg House, London (United Kingdom)

1-3 September 2014: Presentation “The Common Fishery Policy vs fishermen’s good practices. Bottom-up strategies for a sustainable fishery: the case of the Fishermen Association of Gran Tarajal” at the 44th UACES Annual Conference, University of Cork, Cork (Ireland)

27-29 September 2013: Presentation “European fisheries at the edge. The cases of the two small-scale artisanal fishing communities of the islands of Lampedusa and Fuerteventura” at the Sociology at Sea. Culture, Economy and Society in a Maritime Perspective at the Department of Sociology University of Zadar, Zadar (Croatia)

31 August 2013: Presentation of the research paper “European fisheries at the edge: the cases of the two fishing communities of Lampedusa and Fuerteventura” at the 11th European Sociological Association - ESA - Annual Conference, University of Turin, Turin (Italy)

18 February 2013: Seminar “Lampedusa: notes for a study of small-fisheries along the European external border” at the IAMC - Institute for Costal Marine Environment - of the CNR - Italian National Research Council - of Mazara del Vallo, Mazara del Vallo (Italy)

11-13 January 2013: 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 EastBordNet conference Relocating Borders: a Comparative Approach, Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin (Germany)

28 April 2012: 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, University of Warwick, Coventry (United Kingdom)

9 April 2011: 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, Pittsburgh (United States)

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