Meropi Tzanetakis


  • Williamson Building, Oxford Road

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Illicit markets, digital criminology, political economy of drugs, platformisation, digital inequalities, power asymmetries, platform economy

Personal profile


Meropi Tzanetakis is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Digital Criminology at the University of Manchester. Meropi is also a Senior Research Fellow of the interdisciplinary research platform Governance of Digital Practices at the University of Vienna. She is Editorial Board Member of the interdisciplinary journal Kriminologisches Journal (KrimJ), Elected Board Member of the Economic Sociology Research Network of the European Sociological Association (ESA) and Series Editor of the Emerald Studies in Digital Crime, Technology and Social Harms.

Meropi is currently leading the development of the master’s programme Digital Trust, Society and Security at the University of Manchester. This interdisciplinary MSc combines theoretical perspectives on the digital society with practical responses to risks and harms including data exploitation, power asymmetries, misinformation, digital inequalities, and ethical dilemmas to provide a holistic understanding of the digital transformation. Moreover, she is the main academic organiser of the Centre for Digital Trust and Society Forum 2024, together with Mustafa Mustafa. The event draws in over 100 international experts, researchers from various disciplines, and essential collaborators from the public sector, industry, and the community. They come together to explore current challenges and opportunities in trust and security in our digital society.

Meropi’s research contributes to two lines of scholarship. First, it explores how digitally mediated forms of drug-related deviance emerge and how traditional forms of demand and supply change. In doing so, she contributes to the emerging field of digital criminology. Second, it explores how digital platforms emerge as infrastructures that mediate between different user groups. The rise of the platform to the dominant business model is widely discussed as platformisation. In relation to both research directions, she applies critical social theories and combines digital and analogue social research methods. Meropi enjoys employing an interdisciplinary approach. In doing so, she combines concepts from critical criminology, economic sociology and political economy. Meropi has led several research projects examining the impact of the digital transformation on illicit drug markets funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Recently, she was awarded with the prestigious Elise Richter grant after receiving an Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship by the FWF and the Marie Jahoda Fellowship by the University of Vienna.

Her work has been published in high impact journals including the International Journal of Drug Policy and Qualitative Research. Meropi’s most recent book “Digital Transformations of Illicit Drug Markets: Reconfiguration and Continuity” (with Nigel South) was published with Emerald in 2023. She is also the editor of “Drugs, Darknet and Organised Crime. Challenges for Politics, Judiciary and Drug Counselling“ (Nomos, 2019) and Meropi edited a special issue of the Kriminologisches Journal on “Drugs and Digital Technologies”.

For more information, please visit Meropi's personal website.

Employment and Education

Meropi joined the University of Manchester in 2022, having previously held posts at the University of Innsbruck in Austria (2021-2022), the University of Vienna in Austria (2019-2022; 2005-2013), and the Vienna Centre for Societal Security in Austria (2013-2017). She was an Erwin-Schrödinger Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex in the UK (2018-2019) and the University of Oslo in Norway (2017-2018), Visiting Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Germany (2016-2017) and the Jacobs University Bremen in Germany (2011). Meropi holds a PhD in Political Science (2013) and a MA in Political Science, Media Studies and Communication Science (2005) from the University of Vienna in Austria (both summa cum laude).

Research Grants

  • A socio-technical framework for online drug markets: Funding agency: Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Funding programme: Elise Richter Grant, Role: PI, Funding amount: €395,170
  • Dealing with uncertainty on anonymous online drug markets: Funding agency: Austrian Science Fund (FWF), co-funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action COFUND, Funding programme: Erwin-Schrödinger Postdoctoral Fellowship, Role: PI, Funding amount: €166,690
  • Virtual Drug Trafficking – A New Challenge in Combating Organised Crime: Funding agency: Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), Funding programme: Austrian Security Research Programme KIRAS, bilateral Austrian-German consortia, Role: PI, Funding amount: €201,400 by the FFG


Trust and Security in a Digital World: From Fake News to Cybercriminals

Drugs and Society

Drugs: Markets, Policies and Consumption

Meropi is currently leading the development of the MSc Digital Trust, Society and Security at the University of Manchester. In the past, Meropi developed and taught several modules about the digital society as well as crime, harms, and the political economy of illicit drug markets, including:

  • Sociology of digital markets (BA, module developer and leader, University of Innsbruck, 2022)
  • Global drug policy and social inequality under surveillance capitalism (MA, module developer and leader, University of Vienna, 2021-2022)
  • Digitalisation and social change (MA, module developer and leader, University of Graz, 2021)
  • Sex work and the illicit drug economy: implications of prohibition and the COVID-19 pandemic (MA, module co-developer and co-leader, University of Vienna, 2021)
  • Digital transformations in Eastern Europe (BA, module developer and leader, University of Vienna, 2020-2021)
  • Political economy of illicit drugs (MA, module developer and leader, Free University of Berlin, 2017)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

International Society for the Study of Drug Policy

European Sociological Association

Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

European Society of Criminology

European Society for Social Drug Research

ECPR Standing Group on Organised Crime

ECPR Standing Group on Internet and Politics

Association of Internet Researchers

Austrian Political Science Association

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Political Science (with distinction), University of Vienna

… → 2013

Master of Social Science, Political Science, Media Studies and Communication Science (with distinction), University of Vienna

… → 2005

External positions

Series Editor, Emerald Studies in Digital Crime, Technology and Social Harms

2023 → …

Committee Member, Drugs: North West

2022 → …

Elected Board Member, Economic Sociology Research Network, European Sociological Association

2021 → …

Senior Research Fellow, Research Platform Governance of Digital Practices, University of Vienna

2021 → …

Editorial Board Member, Kriminologisches Journal

2017 → …

Areas of expertise

  • HM Sociology
  • Criminology
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Research Methods
  • JA Political science (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Global inequalities


  • Drug Markets
  • Digital Transformation
  • Cryptomarkets
  • Economic Sociology
  • Critical Theory
  • Cybercrime
  • Digital Platforms
  • Digital Technologies
  • Platformisation
  • Political Economy
  • Digital Criminology
  • Power Asymmetries
  • Digital Inequalities
  • Platform Economy


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