Towards a ‘blue’ criminology: How should we study transnational organised crime at sea?

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About this talk

Transnational organised crime at sea is a growing international concern. These ‘blue crimes’, including piracy, smuggling, and environmental crimes such as illegal fishing, challenge maritime security law enforcement practitioners and ask new questions of academics and researchers. By their very nature, such crimes cross boundaries. They implicate different geographical spaces, including both land and sea; they take place across national borders and jurisdictional lines; they challenge existing (often terra-centric) regional constructs; and they evidence important intersections and linkages across and between different criminal activities and networks. In consequence, the study of blue crime is not easily confined to neat disciplinary silos. It requires insight, work and dialogue across and between multiple relevant disciplines: criminology and green criminology, international relations and security studies, law, development studies, and political geography amongst others. But how can such work take place productively? What pitfalls does it face? And what contribution can it make to the fight against transnational organised crime at sea? This panel brings together a multi-disciplinary group of experts to consider these questions. In so doing, it outlines the contours of a new blue criminology, considers the scope and promise of such an approach, and reflect on what a blue criminological research agenda might look like going forward.

Dr. Scott Edwards

Scott Edwards is a research associate on the Transnational Organised Crime at Sea project. He currently researches various 'blue crimes' and responses to them in the Indo-Pacific.