Report from our ERC Inhabiting Radical Housing half-day conference + Video

On may 16th, 2023, members of the ERC Project Inhabiting Radical Housing (grant n. 851940, PI: Lancione) presented preliminary findings from research work conducted over the last 18 months. Marking the halfway point in this grant, this was an opportunity for us to share our progress thus far and where we are headed in the future. The event featured a range of interventions on the intersections of home and housing beyond typical conceptualizations of shelter, featuring a rich discussion across a variety of geographies and methodologies. In this blog post we recollect each contribution, while at the end we provide also the full video of the event. The conference was opened by a thoughtful introduction provided by Francesca Governa, where she situated this ERC-funded project within the broader institutional and disciplinary context in which we operate. She endorses the IRH as a project that goes beyond problem-solving approach of applied research, highlighting the fact that this project is one out of only two ERCs in Geography within the Italian context, and furthers an ethos of research based on critical and radical stances beyond a technocratic approach. By looking at the ‘minor’, this project focuses on emergent practices to open up spaces, showing the possibilities to go beyond given understandings of dwelling, attuning and searching for ways to politicizing the future. Following, the PI, Michele Lancione, provided an overview of the ERC-project, the collective goal to reframe the epistemologies of the ‘housing question’ beyond policy, the ambitions of the team to investigate the ways housing struggles articulate with other fights against class/race/gender inequalities, the collective study practices conducted through the Beyond Inhabitation Lab. Housing is then understood as a terrain of contestation and its related struggles allow for people to articulate other intersecting struggles. The first research intervention came from Mara Ferreri, where she invited us to rethink housing policy by asking how housing movements create infrastructures for decommodifcation, respond to deep-rooted mechanisms of dispossession, how they re-imagine inhabitation through and beyond emergent forms of resistance and policies. Providing reflections based on long-term situated research in Catalonia, and incipient research in Piedmont, she urges us to see these radical practices and emergence of new housing models as ‘making kin’, extending notions of commoning, and pushing the notion of policy beyond the containers of the state and the market. Next, came two thoughtful and reflexive presentations from Ana Vilenica and Veda Popovici on practices and politics of translocal organizing of housing movements. Focusing on the Americas, and reflecting on her experience as an activist and ongoing work with Tenant International in New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City, Ana provided a wonderful discussion on the possibilities of research as organizing, ways to use conversations between organizers and intellectuals to enrich cross-border solidarities. This was followed by Veda, who situated her experience as an activist in the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City and ongoing research within this organization to ask how transnational housing activist networks might assemble a transnational political consciousness. Particularly, she argued that the European Action Coalition provides space for witnessing struggles from other contexts in a rapport of both ‘otherness’ and ‘sameness’, consolidating subjectivities anchored in anti-capitalist and anti-racist politics, and radicalizing political work through building comradery. Conducting work in situated geographies, Rodrigo Castriota, Devra Waldman, Chiara Cacciotti, and Daniela Morpurgo, then presented preliminary findings from ongoing fieldwork. First was Rodrigo, intervening into the intersection of housing and popular economies in Belo Horizonte, Brazil by asking questions about the diversity of ‘home’ as an economic unit, the politics ‘home’ when acquires economic functions, and how the fight for housing articulates with the fight for work. He demonstrated the versatility of spaces in the home used for work (i.e. different rooms in the house, gardens, facades as stores) and different functions the home can provide (i.e. production, storage, exchange, services). Rodrigo also spoke about the ways in which the intersections of home and work impacts affective relationships between residents in the home through negotiations and disputes over use of space for economic activities. This was followed by Devra Waldman, who working at the intersection of housing and city planning/building in India, discussed how the ‘city’ is made/unmade/remade through housing interventions in the context of extended urbanization. She is interested in how different groups position themselves in relation to the housing and urban future of the city. Devra outlined how developers bet on speculation of the (non)city through starting but not completing large-scale housing projects, migrant laborers and urban-village landlords place bet on continued construction and demolition work circulating through the city, and how the state bets on being able to start over again by issuing approvals to acquire more land in the name housing development and city expansion. Next, Chiara Cacciotti turned our attention to experiences of squatters’ post-eviction contexts in Rome to ask how the housing political is articulated in the aftermath of eviction, and how these politics intersect with both homemaking and radical practices (such as squatting and housing activist movements). She demonstrated the complexity of practices post-eviction, ranging from a ‘retirement’ of political activist lives and radical practice, to turning to radical activist struggles for social justice (such as anti-racist organizations), to continued investment in the housing movements while managing feelings of loss of networks of sociality and mutual aid that were cultivated through living in squatted environments. Daniela Morpurgo closed out this part of the conference by discussing her ongoing research investigating the interconnections between sex work and inhabitation. She argued that the intersection between housing and sex work were varied, including that being a sex worker acted as a barrier to accessing housing; that the nature of the work led to feelings of insecurity of being evicted from secured housing; that even housing movements based in squats exclude sex workers due to stigmas associated with their work; that sex workers often face exploitative landlords who charge over market-price for flats; and that affective relationships with housemates are impacted and negotiated because some forms of sex work take place in the home. At the same time, networks of solidarity are formed around searching for housing solutions for exploited workers, and that affective communities around work and inhabitation can be grown. Following the interventions from the ERC researchers, we were lucky to be joined by Dr. Erin McEIroy (UT-Austin), Dr. Ryan Powell (University of Sheffield), Dr. Margherita Grazioli (GSSI), Dr. Nadia Caruso (DIST), and Francesco Chiodelli (DIST), who all acted as discussants. Each discussant posed thoughtful, sharp, and insightful feedback, questions, and points to consider in future work. Their comments included a reflection on the spatial dimensions of housing inequalities and the place-specificities of situated, ethnographic knowledges (Nadia); the position of the project within the geographies of housing and urban scholarship, teaching and activism in Turin and Italy (Francesco); questions of care in academic endeavours and the role of research in struggles (Erin); how the presentation of our work in progress is opening up the space to historicize relations of oppression and address further intersections (Ryan); and finally, how this project and its attunement to positionality and reflexivity sit both in relation to the urgency of activism and the timings of productivist academia. Because of the diverse backgrounds, geographies, and fields of expertise of the discussants, a rich dialogue transpired around the broad ambitions of the ERC project at large, the positioning of the project within the politics of the academic institution, issues of positionality and reflexivity across space and place, and issues of knowledge production. You can watch the video of the entire event at our YouTube channel.  

Inhabiting Radical Housing job adverts on-line (deadline: 22/07/21)

Dear Colleagues,

The job adverts for the 5 post-doctoral positions I am currently offering have opened. In what follows, I am summarising the jobs on offer, and providing the related links to reach the application pages on the Careers.Polito website.

All jobs pertain to my ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing’ project, financed through a 5-year European Research Council grant (overview, here). Researchers will join a new ‘Beyond Inhabitation Lab’ at the DIST, Polytechnic and University of Turin, Italy (relocation is essential). Salary is roughly €1.700 a month (net, after-tax) plus a generous research allowance. The research fellows must be open to collective work, and adhere to an anti-racist, non-binary, and mutually supportive working ethos. Working language will be English, and I am dedicated to the development of the researchers’ career. A PhD title must be owned at the time of application (no exception possible).

If you are interested in applying, please make sure to read this message till the end, since I am providing some guidance to potential applicants.


Links to current job applications

Pages will open in Italian. Click on the ‘ENG’ button at the top-right corner of the page to load the pages in English. The PDFs found on the application page (see below) will load in English only if you click the ‘ENG’ button, otherwise, they will load in Italian. The working language of these posts is English.


There are 4 three-year positions available:

  1. Post-doctoral research fellow – 100% research – requiring ethnographic experiences on housing struggles, homelessness scholarship, and decolonial methods at the global scale
  2. Post-doctoral research fellow – 100% research – requiring ethnographic experiences on housing/urban/inhabitation struggles in the Latin American context
  3. Post-doctoral research fellow – 100% research – requiring ethnographic experiences on housing/urban/inhabitation struggles in the Indian or SE Asian context
  4. Post-doctoral research fellow – 100% research – requiring ethnographic experiences on housing/urban/inhabitation struggles in the Sub-Saharan African context

You can apply for any of these four jobs using the same call, and the same procedure. It is application number 148/2021- AR:


There is a further 1-year position available (renewable for 2-year):

  1. Post-doctoral research fellow – 100% research with time dedicated to the development of the ‘Beyond Inhabitation’ lab – requiring ethnographic experiences on housing/inhabitation struggles in the Italian context

You can apply for this specific following the application number 149/2021- AR:  


Future job offers

In the late summer/early fall, there will be a further opening for a Senior Research Fellow (RTD-A in the Italian system) for a candidate, fluent in Italian, with extensive international experience of research on housing precarity, housing struggle, urban geography, and radical politics. The position will be 100% research. I’ll post the application’s link on Twitter, Facebook, in relevant lists and on my own blog.


Applications’ modality

All you need to know in order to apply is written in the linked pages. Please note that the system is very bureaucratic and that its quirks are beyond my control. I pledge you to read the provided information carefully. In particular, please check the three PDFs documents listed in the application page(s):

  • ‘Bando’: This is the general document explaining the procedure for applicants. Please read it carefully
  •  ‘FAQ’: Most common queries replied to
  • ‘Avviso’: This is the specific call for the jobs on offer. Read it since it contains all the information needed in order to apply

Please note that pages might open up automatically in Italian. If that happens, fear not: simply click the ‘ENG’ button on the top-right end side of each page.


Closing date for applications

The Closing Date for Applications is 22/07/2021, 15:00 CEST. Please consider that it might take you a couple of days to produce all the documentation needed to apply. Applications received after this date will be automatically rejected.


Cost of the application

For reasons beyond my control, the Polytechnic of Turin asks each candidate to pay a €10 fee to submit their application. This is a practice adopted by other European Universities too: one that I despise, reject and fight. Unfortunately, it is (yet!) beyond my power for this step to be removed from the process. The system will ask you to show proof of a €10 bank transfer to the Polytechnic at the time of submission, or you will be automatically discarded.

On political grounds, I am happy to support applicants who cannot afford to pay these monies in order to be considered for these jobs. If you fall in this category, I will ask you no question: simply write an email to and I will process a €10 bank transfer to the Polytechnic, writing your name in the ‘reference’, or wire you the amount directly if preferable. I will also make sure your application will not be discarded if I make the wire on your behalf.

Please note I have received 200+ emails of candidates expressing their interests for these jobs, so do approach me for financial support only if genuinely needed. Thank you.


Other relevant info

Once again, please consider the application is fairly bureaucratic. Take your time to read through the available documentation and – only if strictly necessary – do contact me at least 5-days ahead of the final deadline to receive assistance.


Thank you for considering these posts!



Professor of Economic and Political Geography
DIST, Polytechnic and University of Turin
Visiting Professor of Urban Studies, Urban Institute, University of Sheffield
PI, ERC Starting Grant “Inhabiting Radical Housing”
The Radical Housing Journal | Corresponding Editor, IJURR
@michelelancioneProfilo in Italiano

New book: Global Urbanism, edited with Colin McFarlane