Mafia expert wins major European award

  • Date

    Tue 29 Aug 23

headshot of Professor Anna Sergi

The European Society of Criminology (ESC) has awarded the 2023 ESC Early Career Award to Professor Anna Sergi from the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.

This award recognises the outstanding scientific achievement of an early career European criminologist.

The award committee said Anna’s “impressive body of work” as a researcher in her early career clearly meets and exceeds the standard of “outstanding scientific achievement.”

Professor Sergi said:

“Awards can be interpreted in many ways, depending on when one receives them and why and also who is there to witness it. This award comes in a period of self-doubt and choices; I am thrilled that my scientific production as well as all my strong wish to do something for my Calabria have been recognised. I also feel this award strengthens my European identity as a researcher.

“I have been attending the European Society of Criminology conferences since 2011 and at the award ceremony I will see many faces of my community. I will put on a brave impartial face but I will be touched and proud. I thank the University of Essex and the European Society of Criminology.”

Alongside her academic publications and work, Professor Sergi has written a more personal work, drawing on her experience growing up in the impoverished mountainous region of Calabria, Southern Italy and how the ‘ndrangheta cast a shadow over the troubled region –which has one of the highest unemployment rates inside the European Union and that has been massively afflicted by emigration.

Chasing the Mafia: 'Ndrangheta, Memories and Journeys blends travelogue, memoir, investigative journalism and academic analysis to reveal how the organised crime group became the most powerful in Italy and one of the largest in the world.

Outlining its decision to give the award to Professor Sergi, the committee stated: “Professor Sergi has contributed to the development of European criminology with studies on an important crime problem, namely organized crime, particularly on the ‘Ndrangheta’ and mafia organisations. Her research has focused on socio-cultural aspects, mobility, transnational intricacies and policing.

“She was described in her nomination letter as ‘a leading thinker’ and ‘prolific’. She also very actively engages with the public and disseminates her research findings. She defended her PhD in 2014, became Senior Lecturer in 2018 and was promoted to full Professor of Criminology at the University of Essex. This in itself is very notable and a testament to her excellence. Aside from a large number of high-quality publications, the originality of her research is also attested to by the number of external research grants and awards received by Professor Sergi.”

Head of Department of Sociology, Professor Linsey McGoey said: “Along with all her colleagues I am delighted for Anna. This recognition of her work is much-deserved and I am sure the Centre for Criminology will celebrate her achievement with her.”

The Awards Ceremony will take place during the European Society of Criminology Conference in Florence, Italy in September 2023.