Keynote @HSA on Radical housing: On the politics of dwelling as difference

On Friday the 12nd of April, 2019, I gave my plenary speech at the Housing Studies Association Conference in Sheffield. The conference, organized by Ryan Powell (Sheffield) and Jennifer Hoolachan (Cardiff) was centred around themes of housing precarity, activism and resistance. The level of discussion and the quality of the papers presented was of a very high standard and the all event was a huge success.

My keynote was sponsored by the International Journal of Housing Policy, with the incredible support of Dallas Rogers (Sydney) and Emma Power (Sydney). The paper will be soon published as the first of their new series of essays around ‘Housing Future’. This was an incredible opportunity for me to think around some of the key themes in my research, from homelessness to housing resistance and everything in-between.

Below you can find the abstract of my intervention at the HSA.

Abstract for HSA conference
Radical Housing: On the politics of dwelling as difference
Michele Lancione
m.lancione@sheffield.ac.uk

In their modes of organising and fighting housing injustice, radical housing movements demand more than ‘just’ housing. Across the urban north and south, they bring to the fore profound critiques of dominant economic, cultural, and societal inequalities. Scholarship investigating these grassroots efforts is copious but still limited: it theorises ‘radical’ struggles mostly from a Western tradition; it largely fails to bring resistance into dialogue with new modes of theorising the city; and it is still too cautious in its theorisation of the political. More and better can be said to grasp how millions of urbanites worldwide change their cities and lives through their fight for decent housing. The paper advances a new epistemological orientation to tackle these questions, expanding on decolonial, vitalist and processual approaches to urban studies. It proposes to rethink the politics of urban precarity from the ground of dwelling, as a historical and generative assemblage that needs to be traced in its unfolding to appreciate its unconventional politics. The paper contributes to scholarship interested in a critical understanding of embodiment, politics, and housing resistance beyond established conventions of ‘radical’ practice and theory.

New paper in Housing Studies: A critical approach to Housing First (with Stefanizzi and Gaboardi)

Housing Studies has published a paper that I have co-authored with two Italian colleagues, Alice Stefanizzi and Marta Gaboardi. The paper is entitled: ‘Passive adaptation or active engagement? The challenges of Housing First internationally and in the Italian case.’ In it we offer a critical overview of a peculiar homelessness policy, Housing First, which is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and the UK. We approach Housing First investigating its international success — as a case of policy mobility — and we illustrate the challenges of its implementation in contexts beyond the US. Having being involved, at different phases, with the Network Housing First Italia, we take the Italian case as an example to illustrate these challenges in details. We hope that this paper will contribute to the already existent — although rather minoritarian — critical approach to Housing First (which, to be clear, does not reject the policy but it argues for a non-superficial implementation).

The paper can be downloaded at Housing Studies website, or for free at this link or on academia.edu. Here is the abstract:

In recent years, a peculiar homelessness policy that goes under the name of ‘Housing First’ has become increasingly popular all over the world. Epitomising a quintessential case of policy-mobility, Housing First can today be considered an heterogeneous assemblage of experiences and approaches that sometimes have little in common with each other. Introducing and commenting upon this heterogeneity, the paper critically analyses why and how Housing First has become a planetary success and what are the issues at stake with its widespread implementation. If recent scholarship published in this journal has granted us a fine understanding of Housing First’s functioning in the US, this paper offers something currently absent from the debate: a nuanced and critical understanding of the ambiguities related to the international success of this policy, with specific references to the challenges associated to its translation in the Italian case.