Francesca Soliman

Thesis title: Migration, illegality, and social harm: an Italian case study


Born and raised in Italy, Francesca holds a first class BA(Hons) in Criminal Justice from the University of Essex and an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Edinburgh. After completing her MSc, Francesca has worked as a researcher for the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow Caledonian University, and the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS). Francesca’s PhD research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Francesca is co-convenor of the Law School's Postgraduate Research Student Board, convenor of the Criminology Reading Group,  member of the Empirical Legal Research Network steering committee, and content editor of the Edinburgh Student Law Review.

Undergraduate teaching

Tutor: Introduction to criminal justice

Guest lecturer: Introduction to criminology (ordinary)

Guest lecturer: Criminology (honours)

Postgraduate teaching

Guest lecturer and marker: Global crime and insecurity

Guest lecturer: EU Immigration law

Guest mentor: Criminological Research Methods

Current research interests

Despite constituting a minority of irregular migrants reaching Italy every year, undocumented arrivals crossing the sea from North Africa feature heavily in both the national and European discourse about migration, partly because of the symbolic power of the overloaded boats regularly landing on the country’s shores, and partly because of the high death toll caused by the frequent shipwrecks. The popularity of this dangerous route is driven by strict controls put by the EU on migration from outside Europe. Individual nation states such as Italy have employed a more ambiguous approach towards irregular migration, with punitive measures regularly alternating with amnesties and mass regularisations. Nonetheless, Europe’s stance remains harsh, investing millions of Euros into the defence of its borders while life-saving operations such as Mare Nostrum are discontinued. This interdisciplinary research project adopts a zemiological approach to critically examine the European Union’s management of irregular migration through its Southern border and assess its agreement with the fundamental principles underpinning the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The research will look beyond the language of crisis to analyse the long-term consequences of decades of irregular arrivals on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, exploring the role played by issues such as security, fear, and the search for a European identity.

Papers delivered

  • “The ethics of migration research: old problems, new challenges”. Paper presented at the 2019 conference of the European Society of Criminology in Ghent, Belgium, September 2019.
  • “Crimmigration and human rights: a social harm perspective”. Presented at the 2017 conference of the European Society of Criminology in Cardiff, 16 September 2017.
  • “Crimmigration and human rights: a social harm perspective”. Presented at the 2017 conference of the British Society of Criminology in Sheffield, 5 July 2017
  • “Mapping UK empirical research on neglect: Findings from the Landscape study”. Presented at the seminar ‘Child Protection Across the UK - Developments in Child Protection: Spotlight on Neglect’, Cardiff University, 19 November 2015.
  • “The Landscape of UK Child Protection Research between 2010 and 2014”. Presented to the NSPCC Research Strategy Group, London, 17 April 2015.

Soliman, F. (2019). States of exception, human rights, and social harm: Towards a border zemiology. Theoretical Criminology.

Soliman, F. (2019). “The criminalisation of coercive control”. Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service Research Paper No. 03/19. Available at

Soliman, F. (2019). “Is coercive control a crime?”. Research Matters: A blog from the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service, 27 June 2019, available at

Soliman, F. (2019). “In the Name of Art? The Commercialization of Migrant Deaths”. Border Criminologies blog, University of Oxford, 4 June 2019, available at

Soliman, F. (2019). “Keeping up with technology: upskirting and the law in Northern Ireland”. Research Matters: A blog from the Northern Ireland Assembly Research and Information Service, 1 May 2019, available at

Jones, C., Taylor, J., Mackay, K., Soliman, F., Clayton, E., Gadda, A., Jones, D., & Anderson, A. (2017). “The Landscape of UK Child Protection Research 2010 to 2014: a mapping review of substantive topics, maltreatment types and research designs”. Child Abuse Review, 26(1), pp.8-18.

Soliman, F., Mackay, K., Clayton, E., Gadda, A., Jones, C., Anderson, A., Jones, D., & Taylor, J. (2016). “The landscape of UK child protection research between 2010 and 2014: disciplines, topics, and types of maltreatment”. Children and Youth Services Review, 65: 51-61.

Soliman, F. (2016) “Engaging with perpetrators of domestic violence practical techniques for early intervention” by Kate Iwi & Chris Newman. British Journal of Social Work, 46 (2): 571-572.

Soliman, F. (2016) "Review: ‘Opening the door’: A qualitative interpretive study of women’s experiences of being asked about intimate partner violence and receiving an intervention during perinatal home visits in rural and urban settings in the USA." Journal of Research in Nursing 21(5-6): 365-366.

Soliman, F. (2016) “The impact of the introduction of local commissioning of victim services on third sector providers in the London Borough of Brent”. Invited submission opening the first edition of the University of Essex’s peer reviewed online journal Student Produced Enterprise and Research (SPEAR).

Taylor, J., Bradbury-Jones, C., Lazenbatt, A., & Soliman, F. (2016). “Child maltreatment: pathway to chronic and long-term conditions?”. Journal of Public Health, 38 (3): 426-431.

McMeeking, J., Mossman, F., Soliman, F. and Welch, V. (2016) “Residential Child Care Workforce Qualifications Summary”, CELCIS report, available at

Taylor, J., Mackay, K., Gadda, A., Soliman, F., Clayton, E., Jones, C., Jones, D. & Anderson, A. (2015). “The landscape of child protection research: UK mapping review”. Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh Child Protection Research Centre/NSPCC.