A collective study lab

New books and articles by Lab scholars

Greetings all,   

This month, the Lab is thrilled to announce two new books, five journal articles, and one multilingual public intervention recently published by our scholars! 


Contesting Race and Citizenship: Youth Politics in the Black Mediterranean, by Camilla Hawthorne, 324 pages. Publisher: Cornell University Press. 

Hawthorne’s book examines how Italians of African descent, and especially second-generation immigrants born and raised in Italy, have become entangled with processes of redefining the legal, racial, cultural, and economic boundaries of Italy and, by extension, of Europe itself. She traces not only Black Italian political mobilizations for access to Italian citizenship, but also the more capacious, transnational Black diasporic possibilities that emerge when activists confront the ethical and political limits of citizenship as a means for securing meaningful, lasting racial justice. Their work underscores how these transnational possibilities are based on shared critiques of the racial state and shared histories of racial capitalism and colonialism. 

For a summary of the book and more, please visit its page at Cornell University Press here: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/978150176229

Lifelines: Politics, Ethics, and the Affective Economy of Inhabiting, by Camillo Boano and Cristina Bianchetti (eds.), 312 pages. Publisher: Jovis. 

Lifelines is a work of collective research on the spaces where life intertwines, mingles, and twists in constant resistance to the mechanisms that capture, exploit, and create the social and environmental precariousness that characterizes the violent techno-capitalist present. The book investigates the roles and challenges of design in uncertain spaces and brings together empirical explorations from Italy, Ecuador, the US, Lebanon, Germany, and the UK. 

For a summary of the book and more, please visit its page at Jovis here: https://www.jovis.de/en/books/landscape/lifelines.html


‘I had no idea that Europe had internal borders’: Migrants’ ‘secondary movements’ before the EU internal border regime.
By Silvia Aru

Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space

This paper explores the emergence, conceptualization and embodiment of the term ‘secondary movements’, or migrants’ unauthorized movement across EU Member States, within the EU agenda while shedding light on migrants’ perspectives. By highlighting tensions between unauthorized mobilities and the EU asylum system, it allows for a more nuanced account of the systems of power within which the EU’s internal border regime takes form. 

Problematising use conformity in spatial regulation: Religious diversity and mosques out of place in Northeast Italy. 
By Daniela Morpungo

Planning Theory 

This paper returns to a classic of planning and questions the inhibiting role that an approach to spatial regulation based on the requirement of use conformance has on the unfolding of (religious) diversity.  By examining paradigmatic cases of “mosques out of place” in Veneto and drawing from critical legal geography and critical secular scholarships I argue how discourses over use conformity in spatial regulation need to be drastically re-examined. They, in fact, employ an objectified, essentialized and decontextualized idea of religion while normalising sociocultural expectations that are intrinsically discriminatory. 

Reconceptualising housing emptiness beyond vacancy and abandonment.  
By Sara Caramaschi and Francesco Chiodelli

International Journal of Housing Policy 

The paper proposes a precise conceptualisation of the main states of emptiness of housing assets. Four critical conditions are identified: (i) uncompletedness, (ii) long-term vacancy, (iii) under-occupancy and (iv) abandonment, and the implications of our conceptualisation are explored with reference to both descriptive and normative issues. 

Inhabiting Dispossession in the Post-Socialist City:
Race, Class, and the Plan, in Bucharest, Romania 
By Michele Lancione 


This paper explores the racialised geography of a series of socialist blocs located in the southern periphery of Bucharest, labelled as a contemporary Romanian “ghetto”. Through extensive ethnographic and archival work, it expands on contemporary Western race-aware urban scholarship, advancing an expansive reading of the “plan” as a key element to account for the endurance of foundational dispossession in the context of Bucharest.  The paper contributes to a situated approach to racial urbanism, offering the basis for a trans-Atlantic dialogue around the makings and unmakings of urban dispossession. 

Radical unknowability: an essay on solidarities and multiform urban life
By AbdouMaliq Simone and Vanesa Castán Broto


If urban life emerges within a multiplex space, what forms of change are afforded by urban environments? A crucial question is what kind of solidarities can deal with the barriers to urban life that people encounter and experience as a sense of impossibility, a ‘cannot’ that prevents their initiatives. Transcending such ‘cannot’ discourse will require discarding the moral looking glass that often taints urban futures imaginations.


Becoming Western: the story legitimising neoliberalism, violence and dispossession in Central and Eastern European cities
By Veda Popovici 

LeftEastELMO series: CEE housing movements resisting neoliberal urban transformations
(Available in English, Hungarian, Romanian, Czech, Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Serbo-Croatian) 

This piece aims to reveal the workings of an aspirational Westernising paradigm in CEE post-socialist urban transformations by mapping out the story of Western superiority through which violent and high impact changes are legitimised. I take an engaged theorist approach based on my experience as an activist in the local (Romanian) and international housing justice movements. While pointing out local examples, I seek to assemble a critical perspective aligned with urban movements dedicated to social justice from an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and intersectional.