Dr Michele Lancione

Professor in Urban Studies and Director of PGRs and ECRs Development

About Michele

Michele is an urban ethnographer and activist who joined the Urban Institute in September 2017. At the Urban Institute, Michele manages the 5-year ERC Starting Grant program ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing‘ (2020-2025). His work focuses on the politics of life at the urban margins, with a particular focus on the embodiment on housing precarity. 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). He is part of the grassroot activist organisation Common Front for the Right to Housing (FCDL), based in Bucharest, and a core partner of the Unequal Cities Network at UCLA.

Michele is one of the founders and Editor of the Radical Housing Journal, the Corresponding Editor for Europe at IJURR. In Sheffield, he leads the Life at the Margins research theme at the UI, and he is the Director of the ECRs (Early Career Researchers) Development Network.

You can follow him @michelelancione and download publications on his personal website.

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. (2020) Underground inscriptions, Cultural Anthropology, 35:1, 31-39
Lancione, M. (2019). Radical housing: on the politics of dwelling as difference. International Journal of Housing Policy, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/19491247.2019.1611121

Lancione, M. (2019). Caring for the endurance of a collective struggle. Dialogues in Human Geography9(2), 216–219. https://doi.org/10.1177/2043820619850362

Lancione, M. (2019) Weird Exoskeletons: Propositional Politics and the Making of Home in Underground Bucharest. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. doi:10.1111/1468-2427.12787

Lancione, M. (2018). The politics of embodied urban precarity: Roma people and the fight for housing in Bucharest, Romania. Geoforum. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.09.008

Lancione M., Stefanizzi, A., and Gaboardi, M. (2018) Passive adaptation or active engagement? The challenges of Housing First internationally and in the Italian case, Housing Studies

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, 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.

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. (2019) Review of AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse 2017: New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times. Cambridge: Polity Press published in IJURR, available here.

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. (2019). Pathways to the Machinic Subject. In T. Jellis, J. Gerlach, & J.-D. Dewsbury (Eds.), Why Guattari? A Liberation of Cartographies, Ecologies and Politics. London: Routledge.

Lancione, M. (2019) Getting Rid of Home. In Lassy, J. and S. Turunen (eds.), Homelessness in 2030. Essays on Possible Futures. Y-Foundation, Keuruu.

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

“On Lessness: Recentering the politics of home”, invited keynote at the 7th EUGEO Congress, in conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers, Dublin, May 2019

“Radical Housing: On the politics of dwelling as difference”, invited keynote at the 2019 UK Housing Studies Association Conference, Sheffield, April 2019

“Minor ethnographies and the activist mode of existence”, keynote speech at Politicising Public Health: A Workshop for Early Career Ethnographers, LSHTM, London, October 2018

“Beyond homelessness study”, keynote speech At the European Observatory on Homelessness Conference in Barcelona, September 2017

“The Adaptation of Housing First” keynote at the international conference X Stratagemma. La prevenzione nella scuola e nella comunità: rigenerare la qualità della vita, Padova, 25 June 2015

Post-doctoral mentoring

– Dr Alex Baker, (USP), Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow with the project “The Globalisation of Eviction Enforcement”
– Mentoring for members of the ECRs Urban Studies Network in the Faculty of Social Science

PhD supervisions 
– Ms Stephanie Lacey, primary supervisor (USP), with a project on motherhood and homelessness in Manchester
– Ms Sri Suryani, primary supervisor (USP), with a project on environmental displacement and dwelling in Jakarta
– Ms Martyna Piliszewska (1+3), primary supervisor (USP), with a project on homelessness among Eastern European migrants in the UK
– Ms Eirini Glynou-Lefaki, external supervisor (GSSI, Italy), with a project on everyday life and the politics of walking


2019/03 – Interview and podcast for the Relational Poverty Network (USA-based) series on ‘New Poverty Politics’. The focus is on ‘Collaborative Art Praxis to Challenge Homelessness’, with Rhoda Rosen and Billy McGuinness. Available here.

2018/09 – Interview with Milena Belloni of the ERC-StG “HOMInG” project (lead by Paolo Boccagni) on ‘home among the homeless’. Available here.

2015/11 – Interview with the Romanian magazine Scena9 on my work with the Vulturilor community in Bucharest, here.

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 here.

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 here.

2012/10 – Radio Flash, Turin: Interview on the homelessness situation in the city. Available here.

2011/08 – La Repubblica (Italian national newspaper), interviewed by Luca Rastello on my work in Sydney.

Other Works

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). 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.

2015/10 – An article entitled ‘Eviction and Housing Racism in Bucharest’ has been published by Open Democracy, available here. The same piece was translated into Romanian and published by ‘TOTB’, here.

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.

2014/11 – “Romania, Lucruilui Bine Facut”, Thinkpiece on housing policy and political situation in  Romania before 2014’s election. Available here.

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 here.

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 here.

2011/06 – “Il Numero 1”, Novel based on my PhD dissertation on homelessness. Turin, Eris Edizioni

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.

Lancione M. (2011) Il Numero 1. Turin: Eris Edizioni