Luogo: Scuola di Studi Internazionali, via T. Gar 14, Trento - Aula 001
Martedì 17 novembre - ore 09.00
Presentation of the Research Projects by Third-Semester PhD Students.
09:00 - 09:40 EUGENIO DACREMA
“Modelling the “Arab Spring”: A Game Theoretical Approach to the Arab Uprisings”
The events known as the “Arab Spring” shook the foundations of the political order that had been in place in the Greater Middle East since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. These developments had a significant impact on the scholarship of the region that, in the last five years, has focused on the dynamics, causes, and possible outcomes of the 2011 uprisings. Particular attention has been paid to the socioeconomic grievances that sparked the uprisings and their roots in the changes that occurred in the region after the end of the Cold War.
The end of Pan-Arabic ideologies and the liberal economic reforms introduced over the last decades deeply transformed the domestic social balances of the Arab countries and undermined the legitimacy of the ruling regimes. Youth unemployment, crony capitalism, political corruption, and increased inequalities became widespread phenomena in the entire region. Heavy security apparatuses gradually substituted the grand narratives and the social protection granted by vast and inefficient public sectors as pillars of political stability. Most analyses of the socioeconomic dynamics that led to the 2011 wave of unrest have been articulated as wider critiques of neoliberal policies, in some cases using Marxism and neo-Marxism as theoretical points of departure.
The proposed research employs a different approach to the socioeconomic dynamics of the Arab uprisings based on game theory. It will be divided into three papers. The first will focus on the causes that led the protests to begin first in Tunisia in 2010, and then spread across the entire Middle East and North Africa. The second paper will analyze the interactions that occurred between the regimes and the protesters during the uprisings and their effects on the outcomes. The third paper will examine the dynamics that developed during the protests in countries characterized by ethnic or sectarian divisions.
09:40 - 10:20 GABRIELE BARATTO
“MediciNET: the Role of the Internet in the Transnational Trade of Falsified Medicines”
The transnational trade of falsified medicines is a serious threat to public health. Thanks to the Internet, trafficking in falsified pharmaceuticals has rapidly expanded in recent years, particularly in developed countries. Several studies have analyzed this illegal trade: nonetheless, the role of the Internet is still understudied.
The aim of this proposal is to understand the role of both the surface and the deep web in the transnational trade of falsified medicines. The specific objectives are to assess how the Internet is utilized by criminals in the phases before distribution—e.g., creation of the criminal network, communication between actors, and purchases of active principles—and to what extent the Internet is utilized during the distribution phase, analyzing not only illegal online pharmacies but also other web channels—e.g., traditional customer-to-customer websites, social media websites, video sharing websites, and dark-market portals.
In order to achieve these objectives, I will combine different qualitative methods—i.e., virtual ethnography, in-depth interviews with stakeholders, and analysis of investigative and judicial cases—and results will be merged during the interpretation phase to derive a consistent outcome.
Greater knowledge about the role of the Internet in the transnational trade of falsified medicines will be useful not only to fill a gap in the existing literature, but also to elaborate adequate counterstrategies to fight criminal networks involved in this illegal market and to conduct tailored awareness-raising campaigns for potential customers.
10:20 – 11:00 ELENA SCIANDRA
“The Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Objects: Structure and Organisation of a Black Market”
The illicit trafficking in cultural objects is a transnational market that endangers the conservation of cultural heritage around the world and capitalises on the interfaces between legal and illegal commerce. While criminological research has focused on the features of the illicit trafficking in cultural objects and the criminalisation of the art market, information on the social organisation and the structure of this complex criminal activity are fragmentary due to the emphasis given by researchers either on the flows of objects, the economic and geographical size of the illicit market, or the actors involved.
The aim of this research is to examine the behavioural patterns and the social organisation of the illicit cross-border and transnational trafficking in cultural objects. Therefore, the study investigates the mechanisms through which this trafficking develops in countries serving as conduits for looted and stolen cultural objects since they are situated in a strategic position within the market. Indeed, they represent crossroads for the objects and privileged sites of interactions among actors. For these reasons, transit countries provide a reliable picture of the general organisational structure of the market, and of the position of individuals within the illicit trafficking in cultural objects.
The research will combine the use of crime script and social network analyses as techniques to investigate selected data from law enforcement and judiciary records, and interviews with experts dealing with the illicit trafficking in cultural objects. The data will provide evidence about the social shape and dynamics of this trafficking, including the decision-making processes of individuals.
11:00 – 11:20 COFFEE BREAK
11:20 – 12:00 MILICA PEJOVIĆ
“Euroscepticism in Popular Discourse: A Study of Facebook Interactions”
The sovereign-debt and economic crises, together with the current migration crisis, have generated a set of decisions at the EU level that aim to jointly mitigate the adverse consequences of economic and political turmoil. However, electoral successes by Eurosceptics at the EU and national levels, and shrinking public support for the EU as evidenced by Eurobarometer surveys, have shown that Euroscepticism has been surging in parallel with tighter cooperation of member states in crises-ridden policy areas.
The gap between EU-supportive elites and increasingly Eurosceptic citizens came to the fore during the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, and it has been widening ever since. Consequently, EU institutions have designed and implemented a series of communication strategies in order to strengthen public support for European integration. The advent of the Internet and social media has ushered in new possibilities for political communication, providing EU institutions with valuable tools for keeping citizens informed, communicating with them, and encouraging EU-focused debates. Furthermore, discussions about EU issues on social network sites have experienced an upsurge in popularity, becoming virtual “battlefields” between pro-Europeans and Eurosceptics.
Having identified the flaws of previous scholarly investigations of Euroscepticism, I propose an analysis of the nature of Euroscepticism reflected in online discussions. I will focus on the Facebook pages of EU institutions as case studies and conduct a qualitative content analysis of debates unfolding on these pages. This analysis should provide a richer and more comprehensive understanding of the reasons and justifications for popular Euroscepticism. Moreover, by employing discourse analysis and semi-structured interviews, the proposed research will show how EU institutions utilize social media in order to respond to rising popular discontent.
12:00 – 12:40 JACOPO ROBERTI DI SARSINA
“Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes and Alternative Justice Mechanisms: Is International Law a Building or Stumbling Block towards a State Response to Crimes of the Past?”
Post-conflict situations, regime changes, and peace processes within situations of active hostilities pose tremendous challenges for the states and societies involved. The inherent dilemma between the international obligations to investigate and prosecute international crimes on the one hand, and the role of alternative justice mechanisms that seek to pursue more abstract goals such as reconciliation, social stability, and peace on the other, has its roots in the current discourse of transitional justice.
The complex questions that arise from the exercise of criminal prosecution suggest that a state has to take into consideration the expectations of different actors, ranging from victims to governments, and from the Security Council to the ICC, and other international and regional organizations with their implementing bodies, courts, and tribunals. Therefore, any choice between criminal justice and alternative means of dealing with the past has to take into account the implications and consequences of each course of action on the international responsibility of the state.
Given that in times of transition political necessities and uncertainties affect the application of international norms, the possibility of at least partially derogating from public international and international criminal law rules should result in some form of flexibility and in the development of a sui generis approach for states facing mass atrocities. This study will analyze whether international law is a building or stumbling block towards a state response to crimes of the past and will determine whether international law constrains or shapes the local approaches to policies of justice. This research will contribute to better framing the legal challenges and constraints before states in times of transition.
12:40 – 14:15 LUNCH BREAK
14:15 – 14:55 EMMA MITROTTA
“Enhancing Conservation and Management of Shared Natural Resources through Decentralised Cooperative Schemes in Transboundary Protected Areas”
although divided by international borders, transboundary natural resources represent a source of interdependence among the States sharing them. The joint protection and management of these resources have been traditionally seen in terms of international cooperation, thus focusing on intergovernmental agreements. Nevertheless, there is an emerging practice of intrastate cooperation involving sub-state entities and local communities: decentralised cooperative schemes do not belong to a unique model and are rarely acknowledged by central governments.
My research will investigate cooperation over transboundary natural resources and how it is operationalised in practice. It proposes to integrate two cooperative frameworks: transboundary protected areas (TBPAs), which provide a mechanism for intergovernmental cooperation, and decentralised cooperative schemes, which provide a mechanism for participation of sub-national actors, in order to reconcile the multiple levels of governance involved across borders and enhance the joint conservation and management of shared resources.
The project will first reconstruct a general legal framework for establishing cooperation in the conservation and management of transboundary natural resources by analysing resource-specific regimes. This step will help clarify the potential interaction among the various actors involved in transboundary cooperation over shared resources, an issue that is linked to the recognition of international subjectivity. The second step will be to examine decentralised cooperative schemes operating in TBPAs since these schemes should be interpreted as a constructive addition to traditional intergovernmental cooperation. By comparing experiences of decentralised cooperation, the study aims to design a replicable model for interlocal cooperation and test its validity in successful, problematic, and uncertain contexts.
14:55 – 15:35 SCOTT NICHOLAS ROMANIUK
“Targeted Killing: US Strategic Behaviour and the Taboo of War Crime”
Assassination has been used as an instrument of foreign policy for centuries but as the practice became associated with sovereignty and liberal norms, assassination became a taboo. Since 1945, the taboo has gradually weakened, shifting from “consolidated” to “non-consolidated” and from “decreasing” to “limited or non-existent.” After the assassination ban was lifted, targeted killings increased within the “War on Terror” framework. The UN now identifies the US as the principle user of targeted killings despite the US rejecting the use of landmines, and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as immoral as well as illegal under international law.
This inconsistency in the use and non-use of lethal force presents a puzzle in IR theory. This study will analyze the increasing use by the US armed drones for targeted killings. I argue that this practice is the result of an erosion of the assassination taboo, which has legitimized the practice of targeted killings. The understanding is reinforced that states are responsible for self-help, maintaining power, and protecting their national interests.
This study will begin from the basis that the US professes liberal-democratic principles and fundamental rights, liberty, and freedom. The theoretical part will examine the US and its use of targeted killings in the context of norms as regulators and constraints of behaviour since 1945 through realist, liberal, and constructivist approaches. I will analyze US targeted killings alongside standards of behaviour and identity to show how the US replaces old standards of norms with new ones. The empirical part will use a mixed methods approach to evaluate primary texts including speeches, press releases, and government reports.