The Max Planck Partner Group (MPPG) represents a pioneering effort to establish a centre of criminological and criminal justice research excellence focused on the Balkan region. It has been jointly established in January 2013 by the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law and the Zagreb Faculty of Law, based on the decision of the President of the Max Planck Society - Germany’s most successful research organization.
It should be pointed out that currently (as of 07/01/2013) some 37 MPPGs are in operation worldwide, three of these in the humanities and social sciences section. The MPPG for ‘Balkan Criminology’, led by Dr. Anna-Maria Getoš Kalac, is conducting scientific research and building up a regional network of experts in the field of criminology and criminal justice.
The Zagreb Faculty of Law with its long tradition in criminological institutionalization, teaching, and research, dating back to 1906 and the establishment of the Chair for artes adiutrices juris criminalis et sociologia under the leadership of Ernest Miler (1866-1928), is geographically but also culturally located at the crossroads between the Balkans and Central Europe (Getoš 2009; 2011b). This crossroads position provides a Zagreb-based Max Planck Partner Group (MPPG) for ‘Balkan Criminology’ with the necessary insight and understanding of the region, whilst allowing for enough emotional detachment from it, in terms of scientific objectivity. Both these issues - insight and detachment - have been ignored, at least to some extent, when it comes to Balkan-focused criminological research rooted either clearly in or far outside the Balkans.
The MPPG for ‘Balkan Criminology’ focuses on 3 main research issues, relevant not only for the region itself, but also of importance to the rest of Europe. The research focuses (RF) of ‘Balkan Criminology’ include:
- RF I - Violence, Organized Crime and Illegal Markets
- RF II - Feelings and Perceptions of (In)Security and Crime
- RF III - International Sentencing
In addition to the research focuses which are covered by individual research projects, the MPPG conducts so called ad hoc projects. These are aimed at involving the MPPG in the relevant international and European criminological research area.
The scientific research of the MPPG is being conducted as a joint effort by the head and the members of the group: Filip Vojta, Reana Bezić, Karlo Ressler and Sunčana Roksandić Vidlička. The work of the MPPG is being managed by the Head of the MPPG Dr. Anna-Maria Getoš Kalac.
In the long-term perspective, the MPPG should also get involved in the major criminological quantitative studies, such as the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics and the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS).
Besides conducting criminological research in the region, there is a strong need to connect and interlink all the present research potential - from the Balkans as well as from outside. Numerous activities and projects are being implemented in the region by a vast number of local, national, regional, European, and international players. Yet, all this activism in pursuit of security and stability for the Balkans often unknowingly overlaps and unnecessary duplicates itself. The ‘Balkan Criminology’ Network should enable a synergy of efforts in the field of criminology and criminal justice, a field that can currently be best described as chaotic, uncoordinated, and overlapping (Albrecht & Getoš). Outside players as well as those from inside the region desperately need a focal point, where they can establish the necessary contacts and receive the basic information for their Balkan-focused activities.
A central listing of all major ‘Balkan Criminology’ Events (conferences, courses etc.) and relevant ‘Balkan Criminology’ Publications (especially security reports and crime trends from the region itself, but also a listing of relevant scientific journals) dealing with the mentioned research focuses should as well lead to a synergy of all the criminal justice efforts put into the region and from the region. A collection of relevant ‘Balkan Criminology’ Links points to other relevant institutions, NGOs, scientific actors etc., whereas the ‘Balkan Criminology’ Contact provides for further information on the MPPG and deals with all inquiries. Finally, the ‘Balkan Criminology’ References list the sources used in the texts of the project page.