• Offered by Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Criminology
  • Areas of interest Law, Policy Studies, Sociology, Criminology

The term "organised crime" brings to mind Drug Cartels, Mafias, Black Societies and Motorcycle Gangs. What do these groups have in common? What are their differences? What do they actually do? This course aims to unpack and understand the dynamics of organised crime, its actors, groups, activities and organisation as well as their geographical aspects. We will explore from an advanced theoretical and practical perspective the different approaches that have been used in order to explain and understand organised crime, as well as the policy responses to it. Case-based approaches will be used to illustrate throughout the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify, understand and critically engage with the main theoretical approaches to the study of organised crime and their evolution across time.
  2. Critically evaluate the contributions of different schools of though to our understanding of organised crime.
  3. Identify the main characteristics, activities actors and forms of organised crime and demonstrate high analytical abilities on the subject.
  4. Identify and critically analyse organised crime policy at the local and international level.
  5. Articulate, discuss and critique complex theories in a  professional and succinct manner.

Indicative Assessment

Presentation in tutorial: 15 minutes 10% (LO 2, 5)

Policy Brief: 1000 words, 20% (LO 1, 4)

Essay: 1500 words 20% (LO 1, 2, 3, 5)

Major Essay: 3500 words 50% (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)  

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and, b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are unable to enrol in this course if you have previously completed CRIM2002 or CRIM8003

Prescribed Texts

Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 17, 23, 26, 27, 31 and 36 in: Allum, Felia and Gilmour, Stan (eds) Routledge Handobook of Transnational Organised Crime, Routledge 2012.

Maltz, Michael. On defining Organised Crime: The development of a definition and a typology. In Varese, F. (ed.) Organised Crime, Routledge, 2011.

Paoli, Letizia. The paradoxes of organised crime, n Varese, F. (ed.) Organised Crime, Routledge, 2011.

Tilly, Charles. War making and state making as organized crime. n Varese, F. (ed.) Organised Crime, Routledge, 2011.

Skaperdas, Stergios. The political economy of organised cirme: providing protection when the state does not. In Varese, F. (ed.) Organised Crime, Routledge, 2011.

Gambetta, Diego. The trademarks. In Varese, F. (ed.) Organised Crime, Routledge, 2011.

Morselli, Carlo and Petit, Katia. Law-enforcement disruption of a drug importation network. In Varese, F. (ed.) Organised Crime, Routledge, 2011.

Preliminary Reading

Varese, Federico. Mafias on the move: How organised crime conquers new territories. Princeton University Press, 2011.

Albanese, Jay and Reichel, Philip (eds). Translational Organised Crime: An overview form six continants. Sage. 2014.

Morselli, Carlo, ed. Crime and Networks. Routledge, 2013.

Gambetta, Diego. The Sicilian Mafia: The Bussiness of Private Protection, Harvard, 1993

Assumed Knowledge

Advanced knowledge of sociology and criminology may be assumed.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3180
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4860
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9433 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person View

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