Professor Federico Varese

Professor of Criminology at The University of Oxford


Federico Varese is a Professor of Criminology at the University of Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. His main area of research is the study of organised crime. He has written on the Russian mafia, Soviet criminal history, migration of mafia groups, Somali piracy, the dynamics of altruistic behaviour, and the application of Social Network Analysis to criminology. Currently, he is involved in research projects on the governance dimension of organised gangs in the UK, cybercrime markets, the Russian mafia and sub-standard medicines.

He is the author of three monographs - The Russian Mafia (OUP, 2001), Mafias on the Move (PUP, 2011) and Mafia Life (2018), and an edited collected, Organized Crime (Routledge, 2010). His books have been translated into eight different languages.

He has published papers in journals such as Social Networks, The British Journal of Criminology, Law and Society Review, Crime and Justice, Archives Européenes de Sociologie, Political Studies, Cahiers du Monde Russe, Rationality & Society, European Sociological Review, and Trends in Organized Crime, among others. He contributes to The Times Literary Supplement and, in Italy, the daily La Repubblica. His work has been featured in The Economist, Newsweek, The BBC News & World Service, ABC, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Monkeycage Blog and Freakonomics blog, among others. Mafias on the Move was the Recipient of The International Association for the Study of Organized Crime 2012 Outstanding Publication Award. The Russian Mafia was The Co-Recipient of ED A. HEWETT BOOK PRIZE awarded by The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Professor Varese holds degrees from Bologna University, Cambridge University and Oxford University. He was a Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and a visiting professor at Yale University, City University of Hong Kong and Milan University. He is currently on the editorial board of The British Journal of Criminology and is a past Editor of Global Crime. He has been elected Head of the Department of Sociology for the period 2021-2023.