Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Objectives: The course is designed to give students a general overview and understanding of the international and European criminological debate concerning border control and a detailed knowledge of key topics and key scholars in the field. Students are expected to be able to combine their knowledge of different contexts and disciplinary approaches when analysing border policies. The goal of the course is that students acquire the competences and knowledge necessary to analyze critically the contemporary policies of border control in different contexts, also in view of possible fields of work and research: border police, the role and functioning of administrative detention and deportation, the international relations of the externalization of borders, the use of criminal law in border control.

Course contents

The field known as "border criminology" is a new field of research which has emerged during the course of the last five years or so, especially driven by scholars as Mary Bosworth, Katja Franko Aas, Vanessa Barker, Leanne Weber among the Others. The label of "border criminology" identifies the body of criminological literature concerned with borders, and, more specifically, concerned with how border control is bringing about important changes in the field of Criminal justice and punishment.

The course will first introduce the students to the theoretical key concepts in border criminology: Illegality and deportability, border performativity, crimmigration, differential inclusion, borders and boundaries.

In the second part of the course, the key topics of border criminology will be discussed through empirical and theoretical researches carried out in different contexts. The approach developed in the course sees the law, policies, and discourses as entranched factors in driving the mechanisms of border control. Great importance will be given to the role of gender, class, and race in the law-making and law-enforcement activities, and to the transnational dimension of border control. There will be different topics:

- The internalization and externalization of border control;

- Human and sexual trafficking;

- Border policing;

- Administrative detention;

- Deportation policies, readmission agreements and the international relations;

- Asylum seekers and the reception system;

- Surveillance technologies in border control;

- Migrant struggles and crimes of solidarity;

- The nexus between migration and terrorism (?);

- Borders as punishment and the changing role of the State in globalization.


All students should read the following compulsory articles:

  • De Genova Nicholas (2002) Migrant “illegality” and deportability in everyday life. Annual Review of
    Anthropology (31): 419–447
  • Wonders Nancy (2006) Global flows, semi-permeable borders and new channels of inequality: Border crossers and border performativity. In: Pickering S and Weber L (eds) Borders, Mobility and Technologies of Control. Heidelberg: Springer, 63–86.
  • Stumpf Juliet (2006) The crimmigration crisis: Immigrants, crime, and sovereign power. American University Law Review 56: 367.


Students who regularly attend classes:

Other readings, mainly articles and chapters of books, shall be assigned during the course, according to the topic discussed. The syllabus will be distributed at the beginning of the course and will be uploaded on the web page.


Students who do not regularly attend classes should also read the following texts:

- Julie A. Dowling, and Jonathan Xavier Inda (2014) Governing Immigration Through Crime : A Reader, Stanford University Press. Available in ProQuest Ebook Central, at https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/unibo/detail.action?docID=1120230.

- Aas Katja Franko and Bosworth Mary (2013) The borders of Punishment: Migration, Citizenship and the Northern Penal State. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Teaching methods

The course will use different teaching methods to provide students with knowledge on border criminologies but also to help them develop critical thinking skills: lecture sessions, collective discussions, seminars, and presentations on behalf of students. The active participation of students during the course will be strongly encouraged.

Assessment methods

  • Mid-term written exam (30% of the grade)

  • 5000-words final essay and oral discussion of the essay (70% - of the grade)

Students who do not regularly attend classes will be assessed through a final oral exam.

Teaching tools

Power-point, visual material, collective discussions.

Office hours

See the website of Giulia Fabini