Analysing the European Union's responses to organized crime through different securitization lenses

Helena Carrapico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the past 30 years, organized crime (OC) has shifted from being an issue of little, or no concern, to being considered one of the key security threats facing the European Union (EU), the economic and political fabric of its society and its citizens. The purpose of this article is to understand how OC has come to be understood as one of the major security threats in the EU, by applying different lenses of Securitization Theory (ST). More specifically, the research question guiding this article is whether applying different ST approaches can lead us to draw differing conclusions as to whether OC has been successfully securitized in the EU. Building on the recent literature that argues that this theoretical framework has branched out into different approaches, this article wishes to contrast two alternative views of how a security problem comes into being, in order to verify whether different approaches can lead to diverging conclusions regarding the same phenomenon. The purpose of this exercise is to contribute to the further development of ST by pointing out that the choice in approach bears direct consequences on reaching a conclusion regarding the successful character of a securitization process. Starting from a reflection on ST, the article proceeds with applying a “linguistic approach” to the case study, which it then contrasts with a “sociological approach”. The article proposes that although the application of a “linguistic approach” seems to indicate that OC has become securitized in the EU, it also overlooks a number of elements, which the “sociological approach” renders visible and which lead us to refute the initial conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-617
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Security on 21/8/14, available online:

Funding: British Academy and the Royal Society through a Newton International Fellowship.


  • securitization
  • organized crime
  • European Union
  • sociological approach
  • linguistic approach


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