Dr Michele Lancione

Senior Research Fellow and Director of ECR Development

About Michele

Michele is an urban ethnographer and activist who joined the Urban Institute in September 2017. Having gained his PhD from Durham University (2012), Michele worked at DIST (Turin), UTS (Sydney), the University of Cambridge and the University of Cardiff. His non-academic works include an ethnographic novel around homelessness (Il numero 1, Eris, 2011) and a full-length video documentary around forced evictions in Bucharest, Romania (A început ploaia – It started raining). You can follow him @michelelancione and download his publications on his personal website.

Michele is also the Director of the ECRs (Early Career Researchers) Development Network.

Research interests

Michele’s research challenges mainstream understandings relating to issues of marginality, poverty, and difference in the contemporary urban. His work is of a qualitative kind, sustained by in-depth ethnographic fieldwork and informed by theoretical grounding in assemblage thinking, critical urban theory, affective space, biopolitics.

Recently, Michele conducted extensive research in Bucharest (Romania) around two separate issues: street-level drug use and services for drug users; evictions, activism and homelessness. Michele’s wider research interests include visual and participatory methods, the everyday life of cities, the role of academics beyond academia.


Lancione M. (2017) Revitalising the Uncanny. Challenging Inertia in the Struggle Against Forced Evictions, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, DOI: 10.1177/0263775817701731

Lancione, M. (2017). Micropolitical entanglements: Positioning and matter. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 35(4), 574–578.

Lancione M., Stefanizzi, A., and Gaboardi, M. (2017) Passive adaptation or active engagement? The challenges of Housing First internationally and in the Italian case, Housing Studies

Lancione, M, and Elisabetta R. (2017) “Going in, out, through: A Dialogue around Long Skirts, Fried Chips, Frozen Shacks and the Makeshifts of Ethnography.” City 21, no. 2: 135–50. doi:10.1080/13604813.2017.1353335.

Lancione, M. (2016) Racialised dissatisfaction: Homeless management and the everyday assemblage of difference, Transactions of the Institute of the British Geographers, 41, 363-375.

Lancione, M., and C. McFarlane. (2016) Life at the Urban Margins: Sanitation Infra-Making and the Potential of Experimental Comparison. Environment and Planning A , July. doi:10.1177/0308518X16659772 .

Lancione, M., (2016) The ethnographic novel as activist mode of existence: translating the field with homeless people and beyond. Social & Cultural Geography, 9365(October), pp.1–22.

Lancione M (2016) Beyond Homelessness Studies. European Journal of Homelessness 10(3): 163–176.

Lancione, M. and Clegg, S.R. (2015) The Lightness of Management Learning, Management Learning, 46:3, 280–298

Lancione, M. (2015) Housing First: Successo, Modelli E Sfide Politiche (Housing First: Success, Models and Policy Challenges). Psicologia Di Comunità, no. 2, 23–40.

Lancione, M. (2014) Entanglements of faith: Discourses, practices of care and homeless people in an Italian city of Saints, Urban Studies, 51:14, 3062-3078

Lancione, M. (2014) Assemblages of care and the analysis of public policies on homelessness in Turin, Italy, City, 18:1, 25-40

Lancione, M. (2014) The spectacle of the poor. Or: “Wow!! Awesome. Nice to know that people care!”, Social & Cultural Geography, 15:7, 693-713

Lancione, M. (2013) Homeless people and the city of abstract machine. Assemblage thinking and the performative approach to homelessness. Area, 45:3, 358-364

Lancione, M. (2013) How is homelessness? The European Journal of Homelessness, 7:2, 237-248

Lancione, M. (2013) Truthful social science or: how we learned to stop worrying and love the bomb, The Journal of Political Power, 6:1, 147-155

Lancione, M., Clegg, S.R., (2013) The Chronotopes of change: Actor-networks in a changing Business School, The Journal of Change Management, 13:2, 117–142. (The paper was nominated as one of the 5 best papers at the EGOS 2013 conference)

Cunha, P.M., Rego, A., Clegg, S. and Lancione, M. (2012) Organizing a utopian State of Exception: The case of the S-21 extermination camp, Phnom Penh, The Journal of Political Power, 5:2, p. 279-299

Lancione, M. (2010) “Giustizia sociale, spazio e città” (Social justice, space and the city), Rivista Geografica Italiana, 117 (4), pp. 625-652

Governa, F., De Luca, A., Lancione, M. (2009) “Le politiche della casa in Europa” (Housing policies in Europe), Rivista Geografica Italiana, 116 (3)

Lancione M. ed., (2016) Rethinking Life at the Margins. The Assemblage of Contexts, Subjects and Politics. Routledge, London.

Lancione M. (2017) A început ploaia (It started raining). A feature documentary around evictions and the fight for housing in Bucharest, Romania. Cardiff: A Community Productions.

Thieme, T, M. Lancione, and E. Rosa. “The City and Its Margins: Ethnographic Challenges across Makeshift Urbanism: Introduction.” City 21, no. 2 (March 4, 2017): 127–34. doi:10.1080/13604813.2017.1353331.

Lancione, M. (2013) Telescopic Urbanism and the Urban Poor: Symposium, City, 17:4, 474-75

Lancione, M. (2017) “There is Nothing Like the City” (book review of Amin and Thrift ‘Seeing like a city‘), Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

Lancione, M., (2016) Unfolding the surface of occupation. Review of A. Vasudevan’s Metropolitan Preoccupations. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Online blog

Lancione, M. (2012) “Architecture in the space of flows” (book review), by Ballantyne, A., and Smith,             C.L., Construction management and economics, 30(3), 253-255

Lancione, M. (2009) “The spaces of the modern city” (book review), by Prakash and Kuse (ed), Urban Research & Practice, 3(1), 114-118

Lancione, M. (2008) “Scenari strategici“ (book review), by Magnaghi, A., Rivista Geografica Italiana, 115(4), 2008 

Lancione, M., and McFarlane, C., (2016) “Infrastructural becoming: sanitation and the (un)making of life at the margins”. In: I. Farías and B. Anders, eds., Urban Cosmopolitics. London: Routledge, pp. 45-62

Lancione, M., (2016) “The City and ‘the Homeless’: Machinic Subjects”. In: H. Frichot, C. Gabrielsson and J. Metzger, eds., Deleuze and the City. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Lancione, M. (2016) “The Assemblage of Life at the Margins”, In: M. Lancione, ed., Rethinking Life at the Margins. The Assemblage of Contexts, Subjects and Politics. Routledge, London.

Lancione, M. (2015) Context. Experiencing the City, in Naar, L. and Clegg, S., Gehry in Sydney. The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, UTS, Images Publishing, Mulgrave, pp. 17-32

Lancione, M. (2015) Commission. A Changing Business School, in Naar, L. and Clegg, S., Gehry in Sydney. The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, UTS, Images Publishing, Mulgrave, pp. 33-42

Governa, F., Lancione, M. (2010) La città del sociale: dalle immagini come retoriche alle “non rappresentazioni” come pratiche (A “social” city: from the use of images as rhetoric to practice of “non-representation”), in Santangelo, Vanolo, Di capitale importanza, Carocci, Roma

De Luca, A., Lancione, M. (2010) La nuova questione abitativa: disagio, politiche e territorio urbano             (The new housing question: discomfort, policies and urban space), in Santangelo, Vanolo, Di capitale importanza, Carocci, Roma

Lancione, M. (2008) Gipsies and urban policies: among problems and ambiguities, depth analysis box in L’Italia delle città: tra malessere e trasfigurazione, Società Geografica Italiana, Roma

Lancione, M. (2008) Social housing in European Union (15) and the role of the cities, depth analysis box in L’Italia delle città: tra malessere e trasfigurazione, Società Geografica Italiana, Roma

Conference keynote

  • Keynote presentation title ‘Beyond Homelessness Studies’ at the European Observatory on Homelessness Conference in Barcelona, September 2017
  • Keynote presentation on ‘Housing First’ at the international conference ‘X Statagemma. La prevenzione nella scuola e nella comunità: rigenerare la qualità della vita‘, Padova, 25 June 2015


Workshops and seminars (Invited)

  • Invited guest speaker at the Symposium on Assemblage Thinking, Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, Lesvos, Greece, June 2017
  • Invited guest speaker at the European Journal of Homelessness 10th Year Anniversary issue’s workshop, Trinity College, Dublin, May 2017
  • Invited guest speaker by the State, Market and Societies Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, May 2017
  • Invited guest speaker at the British Academy event ‘Habitat and Living in Plural Cities’, London, March 2017
  • “Committed Ethnographies. Screening a film about forced eviction in Bucharest, Romania”, UCL Urban Lab and UCL Migration Research Unit, UCL, London, February 2017
  • Invited guest lecturer at the Politecnico di Milano, speaking on urban marginality and homelessness, Italy, January 2017
  • Invited guest lecturer at the University of Florence, speaking on urban ethnography and marginality, Italy, November 2016
  • Invited speaker at the event ‘Cities: ensuring prosperity, equality and well-being’, Cardiff University, November 2016
  • “Rethinking Life at the Margins”, book launch at the Department of Geography, Durham University and the Centre for Urban Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, October 2016
  • “Eviction, Enactment and Entanglement: ‘Inertia Creep’ and Committed Positioning at the Urban Margins”, School of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield, March 2016
  • “The infra-structure of togetherness in underground Bucharest”, seminar delivered in the School of Geographical Science, University of Bristol, February 2016
  • “Inertia creep: Eviction, Enactment, Entanglement”, seminar delivered at the Department of Geography, Durham University, 10 June 2015
  • “On committed positioning”, presentation at the international workshop ‘De la marginalité (urbaine) Une notion démodée?’, Marseille, 22-23 June 2015
  • “Marginal Cities”, presentation at the Urban Studies Foundation, Glasgow, 30 April 2015
  • “A-cad presentation” at the Academy of Urban Super-Diversity, Berlin, 6-7 April 2015
  • “Etnografia urbana oggi. Quattro riflessioni metodologiche”, panel discussion at the event ‘Entrare dentro la citta’, essere dentro la citta”, Turin, 30 January 2015
  • “Urban becoming: (un)making life at the margins”, with Colin McFarlane, presented at the ‘Urban Cosmopolitics’ workshop, Berlin, 5 December 2014
  • “How is Homelessness? Assemblage thinking and the de-institutionalisation of homelessness”, presented at the KU INTERNATIONAL LECTURE SERIES, Space – Society – Economy, Eichstatt-Ingolstadt University, 5 November 2014
  • On ne vit pas que de parole. Questioni di rappresentazione”, reasoning around the web-research ‘Al Centro di Tunisi’, Rome, 16 October 2014
  • “Housing First, So What?”, presentation at the Summer School of the Itlaian Network on Housing First, Ragusa, 22-26 June 2014
  • “The city and the marginal wo/man”, presentation in the Department of Geography, Cambridge University, 14 May 2014
  • “Context, Subject and Space”, Ethnography panel with Barbara Czarniawska, CMOS, University of Technology of Sydney, 12 November 2013
  • “The politics of becoming (geo) ethnographer”, CMOS, University of Technology of Sydney, 29 May 2013
  • “Postcards from the city of the homeless subjects“, University of Western Sydney, Institute of Culture and Society, 07 March 2013
  • “The chance of space“, UTS Business School, Sydney, 13 December 2012
  • “Postcards from the city of the homeless subjects“, Macquarie University, Department of Geography, 27 November 2012
  • “The more-than-human city of the homeless subject”, DAB (Design, Architecture and Building), University of Technology of Sydney, 8 May 2012
  • “Gli homeless e la città del non umano”. Alghero, Facoltà di Architettura, 10 Marzo 2011, Geografia, poststrutturalismo e spazio sociale
  • “Workshop on Social justice and the city” in Durham, 5 May 2010, “Social justice, space, and the city: from an explicit public ethic to the study of spatial relation”
  • “Workshop on Geographies of Work” in Durham, 16-17 September 2009, “The spaces of home prostitution in Turin: describing geographies of work”


Conference organizer, discussant and panelist

  • Screening of ‘A inceput ploaia’ at the conference RC21′, Leeds, May 2017
  • Organiser of a panel, chaired by Alexander Vasudevan with interventions by Gillian Rose, AbdouMaliq Simone, Liviu Chelcea and Katherine Brickell, on “‘A început ploaia’: Screening a movie about forced evictions, Roma people and resistance in Bucharest (Romania)”, 2017 RGS-IBG meeting, London, 31 August 2017
  • Screening of ‘A inceput ploaia’ at the conference ‘Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe’, Manchester, May 2017
  • Organiser of a panel, chaired by Vicky Lawson, on “‘A început ploaia’: Screening a movie about forced evictions, Roma people and resistance in Bucharest (Romania)”, 2017 AAG meeting, Boston, 2-9 April 2017
  • Organiser, with Melissa Fernandez-Arrigoitia, of a panel on “The makeshifts of evictions, occupations and resistance” at the 2017 AAG meeting, Boston, 2-9 April 2017
  • Organiser of an impact-oriented workshop around ‘Housing First’ with representative of the Welsh Government and of third-sector organisations working with homeless people in Wales, Cardiff University, 3rd April, 2017
  • Organiser, with Milena Klausner, of two sessions on “The everyday makeshifts of life at the urban margins” at the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference, Göttingen (Germany) 26th-30th March, 2017
  • Organiser of a panel around “Rethinking Life at the Margins” at the 2016 RGS-IBG conference, London
  • Discussant in the session “Housing is a verb” at the 2016 RGS-IBG conference, London
  • Organiser, with Elisabetta Rosa, of two sessions on Ethnography at the Urban Margins, at the 2016 EURA Conference in Turin, Italy
  • Organiser, with Francisco Calafate-Faria, of four sessions and one panel on Urban Dark Matter at the AAG 2016 in San Francisco
  • Guest discussant of the research project ‘Approaching chronicity in mental health care: the doings of a classification and its infrastructures‘ during a one-day event at the Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-University of Berlin, November 2015
  • Organiser, with Tatiana Thieme and Elisabetta Rosa, of two sessions on The city and the margins, at the 2015 RGS-IBG conference in Exeter, UK
  • Organiser, with Natasha Slutskaya and Ruth Simpson, of one session on Embodied Practices and Sensitive Spaces at the 2015 APROS-EGOS conference in Sydney, Australia
  • Panelist in the session “Micropolitics and the Minor”, alongside Cindi Katz, Kathryn Yusoff, Ben Anderson and Andrew Barry), Chicago, AAG Annual Meeting 2015, April 2015
  • Discussant in the session “Assembling Power: Connections and disjunctures in the works of Foucault and Latour”, Chicago, AAG Annual Meeting 2015, April 2015
  • Discussant in the session “Urban Homelessness: Perception, Representation, and Theory”, , Chicago, AAG Annual Meeting 2015, April 2015
  • Co-Organiser of the 2014’s CRASSH City Seminar Series, ‘The Margins of the City’, at the University of Cambridge (http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/programmes/city-seminar)
  • Organizer of three sessions on Urban Marginality and Assemblage Thinking at the 2014 AAG conference in Tampa, Florida
  • Discussant in the session “Between the Punitive and the Supportive I: Urban Social Policy’s ‘Messy Middle Ground”, 12 April 2013, AAG annual meeting, Los Angles, US


Conference papers

  • “Video-ethnography and research-activism in Bucharest, Romania”, RC21 conference, September 2017
  •  “Video-ethnography and research-activism at the urban margins”, AAG, Boston, April 2017
  • “The Challenge of ‘Housing First’. What is it and may it be relevant for Wales?”, Wales Housing Research Conference 2016, Cardiff university, December 2016
  • “The Politics of Marginal Experiences”, RGS-IBG 2016 conference in London, Aug-Sept 2016
  • “Going in, out, through: A dialogue around long skirts, fried chips, frozen shacks and the makeshifts of ethnography”, with Elisabetta Rosa, EURA 2016 conference in Turin, June 2016
  • “Urban Dark Matter. A Geographical Exploration”, AAG conference in San Francisco, April 2016
  • “Organising Resistance. A movie about eviction, enactment, entanglement in the case of Roma people in Bucharest, Romania”, APROS-EGOS conference, Sydney, Australia, December 2015
  • “The infra-structure of injectable drugs in underground Bucharest”, Exeter, RGS-IBG Conference, September 2015
  • “Inertia creep: Eviction, Enactment, Entanglement”, Chicago, AAG Annual Meeting 2015, April 2015
  • “Spaces of management and liberation: On diversity, difference and the homeless subject”, Paris, EURA conference ‘City Futures’, June 2014
  • “The City and the Marginal Wo/man. Pathways to the Marginal Subject”, Tampa, AAG Annual Meeting 2014, April 2014
  • “Walking the creative (and diverse) city. Abstract machines at play in the making of a pedestrian network in Sydney, Australia”, Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, 1-5 July 2013, Perth, Australia
  • “Abstract Machine”, City/State Workshop, Minerva Humanities Center atTel Aviv University, 21-24 June 2013, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • “The Global Financial Crisis and the New Architecture of Business Education”, 5th Nordic Geographers’ meeting, 11-14 June 2013, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • “Walking the creative city. Abstract machines at play in the making of a pedestrian network in beautiful Sydney, Australia”, AAG annual meeting, 9-14 April 2013, Los Angeles, US
  • “They are different that become diverse. Homelessness and the micro engineering of diversity”, “15th APROS Conference” 15-17 February 2013, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan – In English
  • “Different living in difference. The micro-politics of diversity among homeless people”, “International Conference on Living with Difference” 12-13 September 2012, Marriott Hotel, Leeds, UK
  • “The global, the local and the production of territory. Or: How a Business School creates (new?) organizational patterns to answer to (old?) neoliberal crisis”, 7th Annual Ethnography Symposium, University of Liverpool, 29th-31st August 2012
  • “The chronotopes of change. Actor-networks of a changing Business School” (with Stewart Clegg). Helsinki, EGOS, July 2012
  • “Schizoanalysis of the Homeless Subject”. New York, AAG Annual Meeting 2012, Feb. 2012
  • “Practicing Space Organizing the Future. The Chance of Space for Organizational Theory”. Auckland, APROS, The 14th Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies, Nov 29-Dec 1 2011
  • “25 years of Methapors” in Turin, 26 Nov. 2010, “Representing methaphors” with Matteo Puttilli
  • “ALGC: Politics Space” in Durham, 6-7 May 2010, “Urban space of exception for biopolitical control”
  • “ISA International housing conference” in Glasgow, 1-4 September 2009, “The contemporary housing question in Turin: Issues, policies and urban space”, with Alberta De Luca
  • “Decennial of Cafoscarina’s seminars” in Venice, 6-7 November 2008, “Social justice, space and the city: a             geographical contribute”
  • “11th EURA conference” in Milano, 9-11 October 2008, “Social housing and cohesion: policies, practise, and housing problems in Turin”, paper presented with Alberta De Luca
  • “XXX Italian Geographical Congress” in Florence, 10-12 September 2008, “The housing hardship in Turin: problem, answer and geographical evidences”

Lancione, M. (2015), “Harm Reduction and Case Management, Notes for Carusel”, Bucharest

Lancione, M. (2014), “Housing First, So What?”, critical literature review prepared for the Network ‘Housing First Italy’

Lancione, M. (2008), “A bibliographical review of the housing problem in Europe: gaps, ambiguities and potential”, EUPOLIS-DITer, Turin

Lancione, M. (2008), “Territorial analysis of the Province of Varese”, DITer, Turin

Lancione, M. (2007), “Solidarity Buildings in Turin”, in Fourth peer review thematic workshop report, UrbAct UrbHealth, Turin

Lancione, M. (2007), “An office for Roma people”, in Turinin Fourth peer review thematic workshop report, UrbAct UrbHealth, Turin

De Luca, A., Governa, F., Lancione, M., Servillo, L. (2007), Turin: the housing problem as a problem of social justice, EUPOLIS-DITer, Turin

2017/02 – Release of my feature ethnographic documentary about forced evictions against Roma people in Bucharest, Romania, entitled ‘A început ploaia’ (It started to rain). The documentary is one of the outcomes of the research-activism undertaken in Bucharest in 2014/15. The documentary is being presented in a number of venues, film festivals and community organizations across Europe and beyond. Info on all the international screenings at www.ainceputploaia.com

2016/05 – Written introduction to the photographic book ‘Inside, Outside, Under Bucharest’ by photographers Massimo Branca and Ivan Marchesan. I met Massimo and Ivan while doing fieldwork in Bucharest and we shared the same ethnographic perspective on the life of people living in the underground canals of Gara de Nord.

2015/10 – An article entitled ‘Eviction and Housing Racism in Bucharest’ has been published by Open Democracy on the 14th of September, 2015. Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/michele-lancione/eviction-and-housing-racism-in-bucharest. The same piece was translated into Romanian and published by ‘TOTB’. Available at: http://totb.ro/despre-evacuari-si-rasismul-cotidian-in-bucuresti/

2015/08 – Interviewed by and collaborated with Max Daly for the piece ‘Bucharest’s Drug-Addicted Roma Are Being Left to Rot’, published on VICE US. Available at: http://www.vice.com/read/romanias-drug-addicted-roma-are-being-left-to-rot-456

2015/06 – Interviewed for the piece ‘In Search of a Drug Consumption Room – The Open Veins of Drug Users’, published in Romanian and English on Drug Link. Available online at: http://drogriporter.hu/en/The_Open_Veins_of_Drug_Users_Romania

2014/12 – Some of my pictures were used by AlJazeera’s journalist Paul Brennan to complete his video reportage of the evicted people of Vulturilor st, in Bucharest, Romania. They can be found in this video: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/12/thousands-roma-made-homeless-romania-20141220134416798671.html

2014/11 – “Romania, Lucruilui Bine Facut”, Thinkpiece on housing policy and political situation in  Romania before 2014’s election. Available online at: http://www.michelelancione.eu/blog/2014/10/25/romania-lucrului-bine-facut-thoughts-vulturilor-case/

2013/04 – “How is homelessness? Objects, codes, and poetry to re-imaging what we are talking about”, Paper on homelessness for a street-based magazine in the UK, The Nervemeter, (distributed in London). Available online at: http://www.michelelancione.eu/downloads/?did=43 (in English)

2012/10 – “I senza dimora a Torino. Alcune note di campo” (Homelessness in Turin. Field-notes). Policy paper address to the private and public services providers for homelessness in Turin. Available online at http://www.michelelancione.eu/downloads/?did=31 (In Italian)

2012/10 – Radio Flash, Turin: Interview on the homelessness situation in the city. Available online at http://www.michelelancione.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Intervista-Radio-Flash-per-Numero-1.m4a (In Italian)

2011/06 – “Il Numero 1”, Novel based on my PhD dissertation on homelessness. Turin, Eris Edizioni (http://www.erisedizioni.org/il_numero_1.html)