Luigi Achilli

Part-Time Assistant Professor
Luigi Achilli is a part-time assistant professor at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His research and writing focus on irregular migration, transnational crime, refugee studies, political engagement and nationalism, and the Palestinian issue. Ethnographic in approach, his work is based on extensive field research in the Middle East, Southern Europe, and Mexico. He taught at Cambridge, SOAS, and various universities in the Middle East. At the MPC, he is currently in charge of the axis of research on war, mobility and agency for the ERC Consolidator Grant “War and Fun: Reconceptualizing Warfare and Its Experience.” Over the years, he has conducted research and authored several among reports and policy briefs for the use of policy makers and practitioners – he is currently the Global Research Coordinator for the EU funded project: “STRIVE Juvenile: Preventing and Responding to Violence against Children by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups, implemented by UNODC. In 2017, Achilli was awarded with a Marie Curie Global Fellowship for his research project "MAPS – Migrant and People Smuggler, "a comparative analysis of the US-Mexico border and the Mediterranean smuggling routes. On this and related topics, Achilli published several articles and other influential work. He is currently co-editing the new edition of “Global Human Smuggling” (John Hopkins UP, New York, 2022).

Research topics: Irregular Migration, Human Smuggling, Forced Displacement, Transnational Crime.
Core discipline: Social Anthropology.
Active research projects: War and Fun: Reconceptualizing Warfare and Its Experience , STRIVE Juvenile: Preventing and Responding to Violence against Children by Terrorist and Violent Extremist. Groups.
Multimedia: Human Smuggling.
  • Books

  • (2015) Palestinian Refugees and Identity: Nationalism, Politics and the Everyday, I.B.Tauris, London.

  • Edited Volumes and Journal Special Issues

  • (2022) Global Human Smuggling, John Hopkins UP, New York, forthcoming (successful completed the peer-review process phase) (with Kyle, D.).
  • (2021) Migration, Smuggling and the Illicit Global Economy. Public Anthropologist, vol 3, no 1 (with Sanchez, G.).
  • (2020) Critical Insights on Irregular Migration Facilitation. RSCAS-EUI, Florence (with Sanchez, G.).
  • (2018) Crimes of Solidarity in Mobility: Alternative Views on Migrant Smuggling. The ANNALS of American Academy of Social and Political Science, Volume 676(1) (with Sanchez, G. & Zhang, S.).
  • (2018) Les camps de rĂ©fugiĂ©s palestiniens au Proche-Orient: un provisoire qui dure, Special Issue, A-Contrario 2006/2,23 (with Oesch, L.).
  • (2008) Pratiche e politiche dell’etnografia, Meltemi, Milan (with De Lauri, A.).

  • Peer-review Articles

  • (2022) “The feast of children: human smuggling and unaccompanied Syrian minors.” International Migration Review (successful completed the peer-review process phase).
  • (2019) “Debunking the smuggler-terrorist nexus: human smuggling and the Islamic State in the Middle East.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (with Tinti, A.).
  • (2019) “Beyond legality and illegality: Palestinian informal networks and the ethno-political facilitation of irregular migration from Syria”, JEMS (with Abu Samra, M.).
  • (2019) “Waiting for the smuggler: tales across the border”, Public Anthropologist, 1(2): 194-207.
  • (2019) “In search of dignity: political economy and nationalism amongst Palestinian camp dwellers in Amman”, Journal of Ethnographic Theory (HAU), 8(3): 672–685.
  • (2018) “The ‘good’ smuggler: the ethics and morals of human smuggling among Syrians”, Crimes of Solidarity in Mobility: Alternative Views on Migrant Smuggling. ANNALS 676(1): 77-96.
  • (2017) “Des espaces d’ambiguĂŻtĂ© : les camps de rĂ©fugiĂ©s palestiniens en Jordanie” A-Contrario, 2006/2 (23) : 17-36 (with Oesch, L.).
  • (2015) “Becoming a Man in al-Wihdat: Masculine Performances in a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Jordan”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 47(2): 263-280.
  • (2014) “Disengagement from politics: Nationalism, political identity, and the everyday in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan”, Critique of Anthropology, 34(2): 234–257.

  • Articles in Journals and Volumes

  • (2021) Human Smuggling in the Mediterranean: A Comparative Analysis of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Smuggling Routes. In The Evolution of Illicit Flows: Displacement and Convergence among Transnational Crime, edited by Ernesto U. Savona, Rob T. Guerette, and Alberto Aziani. Springer, 2021 (under printing).
  • (2021) “Untangling the knot: human smuggling, terrorism, and transnational organized crime in the Central American route and the Middle East.” Forum on Crime and Society UNODC (with Yates, C.).
  • (2021) “The Deep Play: Ethnicity, the Hashemite Monarchy and the Arab Spring in Jordan.” In Minorities and State-Building in the Middle East. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2021. 151-173.
  • (2020) “Human Trafficking” & “Camp”, In De Lauri, A. (ed.) “Humanitarianism: Keywords, Brill, Leiden.
  • (2019) “The politics of being ordinary”, in Turner, M. (ed.) From the River to the Sea: Palestine and Israel in the Shadow of ‘peace’, Routledge, New York.
  • (2017) “Smuggling and trafficking in human beings at the time of the Syrian conflict”, in Gebrewold, B. et al. (eds) Human Trafficking and Exploitation, Rowman & Littlefield: New York.
  • (2017) “Methodological approaches in human smuggling research: Documenting irregular migration facilitation in the Americas and the Middle East”, Migration Policy Practice 8(2), 21-25 (with Sanchez, G.).
  • (2017) “Neighbouring Host-Countries’ Policies for Syrian Refugees: The Cases of Jordan”, IEMED.
  • (2016) “Irregular migration to EU and human smuggling in the Mediterranean: the nexus between organized crime and irregular migration”, Mobility and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, IEMED.
  • (2016) “Back to Syria? Conflicting patterns of mobility among Syrian refugees in Jordan”, Orient I.
  • (2015) “La Primavera Araba in Giordania: una lieve brezza o il preludio alla tempesta perfetta”, in M. Omizzolo, P. Sodano (eds), Migranti e Territori, Ediesse, 371-398 (with Abu Samra, M.).
  • (2010) “Etiqueter dans un espace incertain: le cas des camps de rĂ©fugiĂ©s palestiniens en Jordanie”, Migrations SociĂ©tĂ©, 22(128) : 118-128.
  • (2008) “Campi di battaglia e campo dell’etnografo. Etnografia, conflitti, violenza”, in De Lauri & A. Achilli, L. (eds), Pratiche e politiche dell’etnografia, Meltemi: 113-126 (with De Lauri, A.).

  • Reports & policy briefs

  • (2021) « Enfants et Jeunes sur les routes migratoires d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Nord : Mali», Danish Refugee Council (DRC) (with Alice Massari).
  • (2020) Covid-19 in Gaza: Community Perspectives on the Pandemic, ELHRA & University of Bath (with Jason Hart, Caitlin Procter and Mohammed Al-Rozzi).
  • (2020) The “real” transformation of migrant smuggling in the time of COVID-19, Policy Briefs, 2020/20, Migration Policy Centre (with Sanchez, G.)
  • (2019) “Migrant smuggling in the Eastern Mediterranean: The case of children” In Achilli, L. & Sanchez, G. Critical Insights on Irregular Migration Facilitation. RSCAS-EUI, Florence UNODC.
  • (2019) Work toward integration: labour inclusion of migrants in Mexico, Policy Briefs; 2019/26; Migration Policy Centre (with Negro, V.)
  • (2018) “Reforming Dublin”. In ISPI, Building Trust: The Challenge of Peace and Stability in the Mediterranean, MED 4TH Edition
  • (2018) The human smuggling industry: nuances and complexities. The University of Texas at El Paso, BTI Institute DHS Symposium Series, 2018/14
  • (2018) A study of the communication channels used by migrants and asylum seekers in Italy, with a particular focus on online and social media. European Commission (Achilli et al.).
  • (2017) On My Own: Protection challenges for unaccompanied and separated children in Jordan, Lebanon and Greece. INTERSOS-MMP (Achilli et al.).
  • (2017) What Does It Mean to Disrupt the Business Models of People Smugglers?, Migration Policy Centre (EUI), policy brief (with Sanchez, G.).
  • (2016) Migrants’ Profiles, Drivers of Migration and Migratory Trends, IOM & DfID.
  • (2016) In rotta verso l'Europa: note di campo sugli spostamenti dei richiedenti asilo siriani verso l'Unione Europea, NEODEMOS.
  • (2016) Tariq al-Euroba: Displacement Trends of Syrian Asylum Seekers to the EU”, MPC Research Report 2016/01.
  • (2015) The smuggler: hero or felon?, Migration Policy Centre (EUI), policy brief.
  • (2015) Syrian Refugees in Jordan: a Reality Check, Migration Policy Centre (EUI), policy brief.
  • (2014) The Social Life of Nutrition among Syrian Refugees in Jordan, ENN, special issue.
  • (2011) Between Football and Islam”, CBRL Bulletin, 5, 94-95 (2011).
  • (2009) Mobile children: from “victims” to “actors”, JEUDA, 119, 1-4.

  • Since 2013, I have written regularly for the press, blogs, and online magazines. My work has featured in The Conversation, La Repubblica, Public Anthropologist, Jadaliyya, Doppiozero, Analist, Border Criminologies, openDemocracy, AllegraLab and many other outlets.