Dr Giovanni Travaglino

Giovanni Travaglino

Dr Giovanni Travaglino

Senior Lecturer in Criminology & Psych.

Phone: +44 1784 276415

Personal profile

Giovanni joined the Department of Law & Criminology at Royal Holloway in 2021 as Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Psychology. Previously, he held faculty positions at the University of Kent (Lecturer in Social & Organisational Psychology) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, SZ (Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology).

In 2012, Giovanni founded Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, and since 2015 he co-edits the journal with Dr Benjamin Abrams. He is also a member of the editorial boards of the Asian Journal of Social Psychology and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Giovanni acts as a reviewer for several journals, including the British Journal of Social Psychology, the European Journal of Social Psychology, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology,  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Political Psychology.

Educational background

  • PhD, Social Psychology, University of Kent, UK (Supervisor: Prof. Dominic Abrams)
  • MSc, Social & Applied Psychology, University of Kent, UK
  • BSc, Psychology, University of Padua, IT
  • FHEA, Higher Education Academy

Research interests

  • Organised crime and criminal governance
  • Political behaviour, political violence and radical action
  • Vicarious dissent and social banditry

Cutting across the three themes listed above, Giovanni's research focuses on:

  • Social identity, group dynamics and intergroup relations
  • Cultural psychology

Research interests (continued)

Giovanni's interdisciplinary research interests focus on the nexus among culture, politics and crime. The main themes are:

  • Organized crime and criminal governance: Criminal groups are a threat not only to security and prosperity but also to democracy. They are sometimes able to control entire territories and displace the state, exerting governance over communities. This research examines the cultural values and beliefs that enable criminal groups to gain legitimacy and social influence among people. For instance, this research has examined the role of masculine honour values in adolescents’ attitudes towards criminal organizations in Southern Italy. This research focuses on a vast array of different criminal groups and organisations, including vigilantes, mafias, gangs and terrorist organisations. 


  • Political behaviour and political violence: This line of research examines why and when people engage in collective forms of political action, including demonstrating and protesting, signing petitions or voting. In addition, this research has investigated the cultural bases of radicalization and violent behaviour in Korea and the US (with Dr Chanki Moon ).


  • Vicarious dissent and social banditry: Individuals lacking cultural or material resources to engage in direct forms of political action may express their dissent vicariously. That is, they may support and legitimize illegal or semi-legal actors perceived as disrupting the status quo on their behalf. This research focuses on explaining the psychological processes involved in individuals' expressions of vicarious dissent: why and when are such expressions more likely, and vicarious dissent's implications for individuals' engagement in political behaviour. The research has been applied to the context of cyber-criminal and hackers (for instance, people's attitudes towards the group Anonymous). 

Across these different themes, Giovanni's research focuses on different geographical areas, including Italy, the UK, Korea and the US. The research pays particular attention to the role of intra- and inter-group relationships and cross-cultural variations across contexts.

To learn more about this research, a full list of publications is available on ResearchGate





Giovanni welcomes applications from students interested in pursuing a PhD in one of the research areas and themes listed above. To discuss potential research ideas, please email him at giovanni.travaglino@rhul.ac.uk.

Other work

Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

Editors: Dr Benjamin Abrams (University College London) & Dr Giovanni A. Travaglino (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Contention is dedicated to research on social protest, collective action and contentious politics. As a multidisciplinary journal, Contention’s mission is to bridge scholarly divides and promote knowledge exchange across a diverse audience of scholars in the social sciences and humanities. The journal publishes articles by academics and practitioners on topics spanning the full range of social and political contention.

Contention welcomes research articles that expand our knowledge of contentious politics and social protest, as well as novel theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions. The journal also publishes critical review articles, as well as book reviews of new or noteworthy texts.

Contention is published by Berghahn Journals. The Journal was first founded in 2012, and it has now reached its ninth volume and seventeenth issue.

For more information and to submit your work, please follow this link. Follow Contention on twitter: @Contention_J


  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS)
  • Scopus (Elsevier)


Cover Contention 

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