The Mafia - organised crime: Federico Varese on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed
Posted: 22 Sep 2017

The Mafia and organised crime from Sicily to Japan and the UK. 

Laurie Taylor talks to Federico Varese, Professor of Criminology at Oxford University. He has charted the daily life of people working for the mafia and the ways in which it is being impacted by changes in technology and the movement of people and money. They're joined by Ann Veron, documentary maker and co-author of a new study on the role of Mafia women and by Paul Lashmar, an academic at City University and investigative journalist with a specialism in organised crime.

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Federico Varese is Deputy Head of Department, Taught Courses Director, Professor of Criminology, Director of EXLEGI

Thoroughly modern mafia: how organised crime embraced technology — but not female gangsters
Posted: 25 Jul 2017

Mafia Life by Federico Varese reviewed by Chris Harvey in The Telegraph.

'Democracy and free markets are intimately connected to organised crime, notes Federico Varese in his wide-ranging exploration of global mafias. Authoritarian regimes don’t scruple to stamp out their power, he explains, while democracies often come up short.

Powerful mafias emerged in Sicily, Japan and Russia as their societies underwent a sudden transition to the market economy, abetted by weak legal structures. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Varese suggests, the West was focused on the rush to privatisation, when it should have been helping to strengthen legal institutions. It was a costly error.

Varese has been studying organised crime for more than two decades and has worked as an adviser on the Russian mafia to John le Carré on his 2010 novel Our Kind of Traitor. In Mafia Life, he digs deep into the culture and practices of Japanese Yakuza, Hong Kong Triads, the Sicilian Mafia and their Italian-American counterparts, as well as post-Soviet criminal gangs.'

-from Harvey's review

Further information

Federico Varese is Deputy Head of Department, Taught Courses Director, Professor of Criminology, Director of EXLEGI

How free trade can make you fat
Posted: 20 Jul 2017

‘The North American Free Trade Agreement may have dramatically changed the Canadian diet by boosting consumption of high-fructose corn syrup’, a new study by DPhil student Pepita Barlow suggests.

‘That boost arrested a years-long decline in total sugar consumption. And it shifted Canadians away from liquid sweeteners such as maltose and molasses toward high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has been linked to the obesity epidemic.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that as tariffs on high-fructose corn syrup dropped over a four-year period, consumption grew: from 21.2 calories of corn syrup per day in 1994 to 62.9 calories per day by 1998.’ Writes Caitlin Dewey in her article.

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Generational and class gaps in attitudes on fees, polling finds
Posted: 20 Jul 2017

Tuition fees rank marginally above animal rights on list of voting priorities – but young people assign higher importance. Steve Fisher helps the Times Higher Education to sort through the polling data.

'There is deep unhappiness with England’s current system of tuition fees among the young people most likely to be facing repayments under the status quo, with a generational gulf evident in attitudes to university financing, YouGov’s poll for Times Higher Education shows.'  Writes John Morgan in his article.

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Steve Fisher is Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor in Political Sociology, Fellow of Trinity College and Department Disability Lead

Sociogentics research featured in BSA Network
Posted: 11 Jul 2017

‘Genetics research: not in our nature?’ looks at the work of Professor Melinda Mills and her team working on the Sociogenome, SOCGEN and Wellcome Trust projects – calling it ‘the latest in the nature-nurture debate’.

‘When Nature Genetics, one of the most prestigious journals in science, prints a paper by 200 researchers on genes and reproduction, it is unlikely to find its way onto the reading list of many sociology courses in Britain.
‘But “Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behaviour” is more significant for our discipline than its title might suggest...’

Genetics research: not in our nature?

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Melinda Mills is Head of Department, Nuffield Professor of Sociology