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10 June 2020

Moment to savour for Matilde as she passes PhD thesis

It was a perfect start to the summer for Matilde Rosina as her PhD thesis was passed without corrections.

Matilde Rosina
Matilde Rosina

Matilde saw her doctoral research, which looked at the effectiveness of deterrence measures in reducing irregular migration to Europe, pass a ‘viva voce' (or oral examination) with flying colours on 3 June.

Matilde, who joined the Department of European and International Studies in 2016, said: “Given the ‘grilling’ the examiners gave me during the viva, it was very exciting news to hear that I passed with no corrections. It gave me a lot of satisfaction, and I look forward to starting the next chapter of my life.”

Matilde became interested in the link between deterrence and migration during her master’s at King’s. It was the autumn of 2014, and the Italian search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was being criticised for being a pull factor for migrants.

The operation - it was argued - had to be interrupted, in order to generate a deterrent effect instead.

Matilde started to investigate deterrence measures in the context of migration, and eventually found that international political economy and criminology could provide helpful insight to understand their functioning and effectiveness. She then decided to focus on the case study of criminalisation, a common measure throughout Europe.

Her research concluded that the criminalisation of migration, as an example of deterrence, had not been effective in either of the countries examined, Italy and France.

Of her findings, Matilde said: “Not only did criminalisation score poorly in all the evaluation parameters considered, it also led to counterproductive effects. Indeed, coupled with other deterrent measures, criminalisation likely contributed to generating more irregularity, by making it harder for migrants to enter Europe and find jobs in the regular economy.”

With her studies now complete, Matilde plans to remain in the academic sector, and hopes to publish the results of her study soon.

She added: “The thesis bears my name, but it truly could not have been accomplished without the support of many. In particular, I would like to thank all my interviewees, for their time and contributions, and my first supervisor, Simona Talani, for her help and advice.”

In this story

Matilde Rosina

Visiting Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Centre for Italian Politics @ EIS