Scuola superiore sant'anna

Ph.D. students

Francesco Buscemi


Francesco Buscemi is a PhD candidate in International Relations at Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies and a member of the Research School on Peace and Conflict at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). His areas of research include peace and conflict studies, armed violence, arms control, and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)-related topics. His research investigates the implications of practices and processes of weapons flows and control of violence for socio-political orders, looking at Myanmar borderlands and supposed state margins as a case study. 

He holds a master in Human Rights and Conflict Management from Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies and a master degree in Law from the University of Bologna. Francesco has previous working experience in the Italian Army, the Belgrade-based South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) and the Flemish Peace Institute.


Buscemi, F. (2021), The Art of Arms (Not) Being Governed: Means of Violence and Shifting Territories in the Borderworlds of Myanmar, Geopolitics 0(0), 1-28, DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2021.1901083

- Buscemi, F. (2021), Ecologies of Dead and Alive Landmines in the Borderlands of Myanmar, Italian Political Science Review (IPSR) 0(0), 1-19, DOI: 10.1017/ipo.2021.37 

- Buscemi, F. (2019), Armed Political Orders through the Prism of Arms: The Relation between Weapons and Insurgency in Myanmar and Ukraine, Interdisciplinary Political Studies, vol. 5, n. 1, 189-231, DOI: 10.1285/i20398573v5n1p189

- Buscemi, F. (2017), Circulation Must Be Defended: Illicit Arms Proliferation and Flows in the Western Balkans, ITCPM International Commentary, Special Issue on Global Security and Human Rights, Vol. 16, Issue 42, pp. 10-15.

Buscemi, F. (2020), Le Transizioni delle Organizzazioni Etniche Armate tra Nazionalismo e Politica Militarizzata in Myanmar. Il Caso delle Insurrezioni Ta’ang (Ethnic Armed Organizations’ Transitions amidst Nationalism and Militarized Politics in Myanmar. The Case of Ta’ang Rebel Movements), RISE, vol. 4, n. 3, 9-13


Chapters in Edited Books

- Buscemi, F. and Russo, A. (Forthcoming 2021/22), The State Before Criminal Firearms, in Allum, F. ed., Routledge Handbook of Transnational Organized Crime, under editorial process.

- Buscemi, F., Duquet, N., Golovko, E. and Woods, E. (2018), Illicit firearms proliferation in the EU periphery: the case of Ukraine, in: Duquet, N. ed., Triggering Terror. Illicit Gun Markets and Firearms Acquisition of Terrorist Networks in Europe, Brussels: Flemish Peace Institute, 261-280.



Buscemi, F. (2021), Arms Proliferation amid Heterogeneous Resistance in Myanmar, TRENDS Research,

Buscemi, F. (2021), Soup Not Coup, But What Boils in the Coup’s Soup?, New Mandala,

- Buscemi, F. (February 2021), La (Dé)militarisation et le Désarmement Comme Politique de Transformation au Myanmar, Le Grand Continent, (in Italian:

Buscemi, F. (2020), Missing Pieces in a Weapons Seizure in Northern Shan State, Security Praxis,

- Buscemi, F. (2020), From the Borderlands to the Centre: Land Travelling in Myanmar, Security Praxis,

- Buscemi, F. (2019), What comes first, disarmament or peace? Insights from fieldwork in Myanmar, Security Praxis,

- Buscemi, F. and Golovko, K. (2018), Politics, Conflict and Criminality: Firearms Proliferation in Ukraine,

- Buscemi, F. (2018), Mutually Constitutive State-building Processes in the Borderlands of Myanmar, Security Praxis,

- Buscemi, F. (2018), Colonel Mathieu in the Borderlands of Myanmar, TeaCircle Oxford,

- Buscemi, F. (2017), Circulation Must Be Defended: Illicit Arms Proliferation and Flows in the Western Balkans, Master Thesis, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies: Pisa.

How are the means of violence controlled in the borderworlds of Myanmar? How does control over the means of violence generate governable spaces in the borderworlds of Myanmar? My PhD research project deals with these two main research questions. It attempts to explore how practices and processes of control over the means of violence unfold in governable spaces beyond the state, and how such practices and processes link to socio-political orders and their spatialities of rule in the borderworlds of Myanmar. Throughout different bodies of literature in the interdisciplinary field of peace and conflict studies, questions pertaining weapons and violence are often approched through a blend of substantivist and/or instrumentalist lenses. Substantivist approaches tend to emphasise the autonomous role of weapons technologies in influencing socio-political phenomena, while instrumentalist approaches tend to stress the irrelevance of weapons and focus on human agency and inter-agents relations. Adopting material semiotic sensibilities and drawing from post-structuralist thinking, the research tries to overcome/cope with these views and provide an analysis of how weapons and means of violence interrelate with socio-political orders and spaces in environments where authority and order are fundamentally/drastically being questioned and constantly re-negotiated. In particular, through fieldwork in Myanmar's northern Shan State, i focus on situations of protracted armed conflict and the mediation of weapons technologies, techniques and rationalities of control of violence in such contexts.


Institute of Law, Politics and Development