16:15 – 16:45
PhD student: Giulia DAGA,
Supervisors: Pejman ABDOLMOHAMMADI
Title: Constructing Oman’s Peaceful Identity: An Analysis of Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s Foreign Policy Discourse
The Sultanate of Oman is often described by the international media as a neutral, mediating, and tolerant country that is a peaceful exception in the turbulent Middle East (Orient XXI 2018; Foreign Policy 2020; New York Times 2020). Because of the role that Oman has been increasingly playing, a better understanding of the evolution and conceptualization of its foreign policy is needed. This study investigates how Sultan Qaboos’s foreign policy contributed to constructing an image of a cohesive peaceful identity domestically and a stable neutral player externally.
IR studies on Oman’s—and on all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states’—foreign policies largely treat identity and structure as explanatory variables, often combining realist and conventional constructivist theories, while poststructuralist approaches are mostly applied only to domestic-level analyses. At the same time, studies on the links between neutrality and peace still tend to focus on small Western democracies, so that the terms appear historically and geographically bound, risking confusion, if not misinterpretation, when applying them to extra-European contexts.
The study aims to bridge these gaps by looking at the discursive construction and sedimentation of the concept of Oman’s peaceful identity. I will do so by analyzing Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s foreign policy discourse from 1970 to 2020 through an integrated intertextual analysis of primary documents, secondary texts and interviews. The aim is to contribute both to the theoretical debate on neutrality and peacefulness within the broader literature on small states and to the discussion on GCC states’ foreign policies and identities.
16:45 – 17:15
PhD student: Michele MAZZETTI
Supervisors: Matteo BORZAGA
Title: Poverty Anywhere Endangers Prosperity Everywhere: Social Clauses and the EU’s Commitment to Fair Globalisation
Protecting labour rights, fostering sustainable development, and boosting economic growth are the purposes of the social clauses (i.e., Trade and Sustainable Development or TSD chapters) embedded in the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) of the European Union (EU). These social clauses, which reflect the EU’s ethical commitments, are legal catalogues of conventions on labour rights and environmental protection that the contracting parties are committed to implementing.
This research aims to determine whether and to what extent the EU’s social clauses are effective instruments for fostering the protection of labour rights. The study is divided into two parts: the first will focus on a legal doctrinal analysis of the existing clauses from a theoretical perspective, and the second will consist of an empirical evaluation of the effectiveness of the social clauses through the analysis of two case studies: South Korea and Vietnam. Specifically, I will analyse the EU–South Korea FTA to frame a scheme of the main issues in implementing TSD chapter social provisions. Using this scheme, and EU and ILO reports, I will forecast the potential, and the likely or expected development (prognostic assessment) of the TSD chapter of the recently ratified EU–Vietnam FTA to highlight its strengths and weaknesses.
The purpose of this research is, on the one hand, to develop a replicable analytical framework for studying social clauses and, on the other, to assess the effectiveness of the EU’s TSD chapters and propose remedies to the main weaknesses that have been identified.
17:15 – 17:45
PhD student: Claudio Christopher PASSALACQUA
Supervisors: Arlo POLETTI
Title: Competitive Advantages in Setting International Telecommunication Standards: A Comparative Analysis of China, the US and the EU
The technological race between China, the US and the EU has been intensifying around the development of international standards, a multilevel and consensus-driven process where standards are established by the interaction of competing firms. In this competitive process, the most cohesive industry coalition (defined as an alliance of firms) is likely to prevail as a standard setter by having a first mover advantage.
During the last decade, China has increasingly challenged the leadership of the US and the EU as a main standard setter. This challenge does not only reside in China’s growing economy and technological development, but also in its institutional arrangement towards the development of standards. The researchable problem is whether and to what extent China’s state-driven institutional arrangement provides its firms with greater competitive advantages than the US’s market-driven system and the EU’s public–private partnership framework.
In light of this, I plan to examine how different institutional arrangements in China, the US, and the EU affect the competitive advantages of their respective firms in setting the three latest generations of international telecommunication standards, namely 3G, 4G, 5G. I focus specifically on two domestic factors: variations in levels of coordination between public and private actors and in the levels of organizational hierarchy. The changing impact of these domestic factors will be analyzed comparatively with a process-tracing method that aims at tracing their casual mechanisms, by drawing evidence from primary and secondary sources as well as semi-structured interviews.
14:00 – 14:30
PhD student: Valentina PIOL
Supervisors: Andrea DI NICOLA
Title: Ethnic Organised Crime Groups: Assessing Countermeasures Adopted by EU Member States
Ethnic Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), such as Nigerian and Chinese, are deeply embedded in Europe and represent a threat to national and international security. They carry on a range of criminal activities, such as human trafficking and drug smuggling. Moreover, there is evidence of their potential connection to terrorist groups since they are involved in arm trafficking to fund terrorism.
Existing criminal law, criminal procedural law, and investigative tools and techniques (hereafter, measures) at the EU and domestic levels, were initially established to counteract traditional OCGs and were tailored to specific economic, political, and social contexts. However, the network organisations, the inner structures, the criminal activities, and modi operandi of ethnic OCGs differ in many ways. The comprehension of these characteristics is necessary to understand which elements distinguish ethnic OCGs from traditional ones. Furthermore, there is a need to investigate the relation between ethnic OCGs, traditional OCGs, and terrorist groups. These originally separate groups increasingly work together to achieve common objectives.
My research will analyse the peculiarities of ethnic OCGs and will map the investigative and legislative measures adopted by EU Member States. By understanding these features, through in-depth interviews with experts (i.e., prosecutors, journalists, and researchers) and case study analysis, this study will fill gaps in existing knowledge by assessing whether the measures against organised crime are adequate to counteract ethnic OCGs. Finally, it will identify potential improvements that are needed to make these measures more effective.
14:30 – 15:00
PhD student: Irene SERANGELI
Supervisors: Luisa ANTONIOLI and Andrea CRESCENZI (CNR)
Title: Are you a refugee? Refugee Status Determination in the EU response to the 2015 Refugee Crisis
The 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 New York Protocols enshrined asylum as a universal and fundamental right. Moreover, States committed not to refouler refugees, in any manner whatsoever, to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. This commitment, better known as the non-refoulement principle, is considered to be a norm of customary international law, if not part of the jus cogens.
Nevertheless, when confronted with mass influxes of people seeking asylum, States erect walls made of both barbed wire and legal provisions. While the images of people trapped on securitized borders are a tangible manifestation of the current asylum regime, reframing the definition of refugee is an equally effective deterrence strategy. Indeed, Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedures, designed as a space of confrontation between the claims of asylum seekers and the assessments of authorities, are critical to enacting States’ political interests in providing or refusing protection
Combining comparative legal analysis and ethnographic observation, my research will recompose the meaning(s) of the definition of refugee through a multi-sited analysis of the RSD procedures on the Eastern Mediterranean migratory route after the 2015 Refugee Crisis. By understanding who today is labelled as a refugee, my research will assess what remains of the original commitment not to refouler refugees and therefore reason on the juridical nature of the principle. This understanding is a necessary first necessary step in developing new paradigms for protecting refugees.
|13 October, 15:00 – 15:30
PhD student: Andrei TARASOV
Supervisor: Emanuele MASSETTI
Title: Separatism on the Rise: Explaining the Sudden Increase of Secessionism in Catalonia and Scotland
Increasing calls for regional independence are being made in many European countries that have growing public support for secessionism. Over the last decade, Catalonia and Scotland have enjoyed the highest level of political mobilization for secession in Europe.
The aim of this study is to unpack the reasons for the support for independence in these regions by analyzing the public media discourse. The theoretical literature provides many explanations for increasing secessionism, and my research seeks to uncover empirically the link between the theoretical arguments about secessionism and their role in the public discourse.
Frame analysis and media analysis will be used to identify the main explanations for fluctuating sentiments because, as with any feeling, secessionism is subject to perceived changes in the minds of people. Additionally, the role of political parties and their strategies for building support for secessionist programs will be addressed. The research will employ four methods - text mining, process tracing, quantitative frame and content analysis - to measure the rise of separatism and assess the strategies of political parties.
The results should identify the mechanisms which trigger sudden increases in independence sentiments and highlight the role of political communication in framing public attitudes towards secessionism. The aim is to trace the hidden links between the dependent variable of growing demands for sovereignty and independent variables, including framing the problem, directional bias in media, and strategies of political parties. The findings will provide local governments and EU institutions with a better understanding of public opinion on secession.
|13 October, 15:30 – 16:00
PhD student: Vanessa UGOLINI
Supervisor: Alessandra RUSSO,
Advisor: Georgios GLOUFTSIOS
Title: Exchanging Cross-Border Digital Data for Investigatory Purposes: A Genealogy of Data Production in the European Union
To counter hybrid threats – for example, international terrorism, transnational organised crime and (cyber-)attacks – security and intelligence communities increasingly gather, process and exchange vast amounts of data on presumably suspect individuals. This trend has been enabled by recent developments in surveillance capacities related to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). As a result, cross-border data flows have become an important component of crime prevention strategies and an element of international trade. Nevertheless, the cross-border transfer of data for investigatory purposes raises issues of jurisdiction concerning the applicability of oversight.
This study proposes to address the technical and legal complexities of using cross-border data as digital evidence in criminal prosecutions, in the absence of a comprehensive legal framework to regulate access and use of cross-border digital information in the EU. The concept of data transportability will be investigated inductively through a comparative analysis of EU data exchange schemes that seek to create an integrated data management architecture.
My aim is to create a genealogy of data production – that is, to identify the technical, legal and socio-political conditions that allow for the collection, processing and exchange of data at the pan-European level. I am particularly interested in instances of good practice in which cross-border data can be used as electronic evidence in domestic criminal prosecutions without overriding data protection provisions pertaining to access, consent and transparency. Developing a genealogy of data production will generate findings that are useful for interpreting the changing landscape of data-driven security governance in the EU.