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The assemblage of marginality

The assemblage of marginality

The research aims to shed new light on how urban marginalities come into being; how they are performed; and constructed/de-constructed in the relational entanglements between the self and the city. The work contributes to the critical assemblage thinking approach to urban studies, providing theoretical and empirical insights derived from specific ethnographic case studies in Europe. The main focus is around issues of drug consumption in Bucharest, Romania, but includes also selected case studies around homelessness in Italy, Romania and the UK. The objectives of this project are to challenge normative takes on marginality (i.e. where marginality is understood a-priori from its established paradigms, without taking into account its multifaceted dimensions); to offer critical and vitalist accounts of the analysed cases; and to provide situated knowledge on urban marginalisation in Europe.

The ethnographic work will show the micro-politics associated with life at the margin, its more-than-human compositions, and the related issues/potentials. The case studies will inform a reflection on the possibility for new policy thinking and making, thus enhancing the opportunities offered by the vitalist city.

It is foreseen that the research will contribute to three specific sets of literatures within Urban Geography, namely the literature on marginalization and diversity; on urban public policies of care and poverty management; and the theoretical contributions to assemblage thinking.

Roma Camp in Italy, 2008

Discarded syringes in Bucharest - Photo Lancione, 2014


The main fieldwork activity has been undertaken in Bucharest, Romania, from August 2014 to May 2015. After a period of analysis, selected field activities will be undertaken in Italy and London in fall 2015 (around homelessness-related issues), leaving 2016 to analysis, writing and dissemination.