Eura 2016: Urban Walk at the Margins of Turin


Urban Walk Turin

I am very happy to be part of the EURA 2016 conference in my – adoptive – city of Turin! If you are around, here are just some of the exciting things we’re are gonna do in Turin:

  • We will start on Thursday the 16th at 9pm with the presentation of Alex Vasudevan’s book ‘Metropolitan Preoccupations’ with Francesco Chiodelli and Ola Soderstrom as discussant (all info here)
  • Second, there are the two interesting panels that Elisabetta Rosa and myself have organised around ‘Committed positioning. Politics, activism and ethnographic encounters in the contemporary city‘ (one and two)
  • Third, always with Elisabetta, we have organised a very exciting urban walk at the Margins of Turin. Below you can read our brief, while at the following link you can find more info and additional material: Turin and its margins_Urban Walk_EURA 2016;
  • Lastly, on Saturday at 6.30pm we will also present my own edited book, Rethinking Life at the Margins (all info here, at the bottom of the page).

Please feel free to join us for the urban walk, but write to me ahead if you would like to do so!

Turin at the margins: A view from the bridge

Organisers: Michele Lancione and Elisabetta Rosa

Turin’s marginalised spaces and populations are numerous and nuanced. With this urban walk we aim to approach three of these spaces in order to sense their complexity and invite further explorations and reflections. Conscious of the limits of such exercise, and out of respect for the people that perform spaces, our walk will be centered around two/three bridges that – metaphorically and infrastructurally – connects mainstream Turin to its margins. The first bridge is the Passerella Olimpica, where we will hear the story of the refugees that are currently occupying the ex Olympic Village. The second bridge is the Ponte Carparini, in the Porta Palazzo area, where we will discuss about homelessness and services for homeless people in Turin. The third bridge is on the other side of the city, in the Lungo Stura Lazio’s area (Ponte Amedeo VIII, where we will approach the story of the Roma people living on the river’s banks. This walk is connected to the presentation of the book ‘Rethinking Life at the Margins’, which will be launched at the ‘Via Baltea’ centre in the evening.

At the following link you can find more info and additional material: Turin and its margins_Urban Walk_EURA 2016

RGS-IBG 15: Ethnography and Underground Bucharest

Screenshot from 2015-09-01 09:54:55

The RGS-IBG 2015 is about to start in Exeter. It’s a long time I haven’t took part to one RGS-IBG and I am very much looking forward to it: this year program looks great.

At the conference I’ve co-organised two sessions with Tatiana Thieme and Elisabetta Rosa, called The city and the margins: Ethnographic challenges across makeshift urbanismThe sessions are about doing ethnography at the margins today, in the mist of relevant theoretical changes and methodological challenges. We have a great line-up of 8 papers, starting from 9:00 on Wednesday 02 September (Newman Building – Lecture Theatre A/Blue). The program for the two sessions can be found here and here.

Moreover, on Friday 04 September at 9:00 (Peter Chalk – Room 2.5) I’ll be presenting in Lizzie Richardson, Robert Shaw and Jonathan Silver’s session on Producing Urban Life: Fragility and Socio-Cultural Infrastructures (here is the program)My paper is entitled The infra-structure of injectable drugs in underground Bucharest. The presentation contains some provisional thoughts around my 2003 and 2014/15 research about the underground canals of Bucharest. You can read the abstract below.

The infra-structure of injectable drugs in underground Bucharest

From outdoor consumption taking place in liminal street spaces to indoor practices of injection in marginalised and neglected neighbourhoods, Bucharest presents a variegated cartography of drug-related activities. This is a map made up of subjects, objects, urban atmospheres, discourses and practices that take different forms and paths accordingly to the relative urban infrastructure involved. The paper focuses on one of the latter, namely the teleheating network (known also as ‘district heating’). The network consists of an vast web of undergrounds pipes connecting a centralised heating system to Bucharest’s flats and offices, which are consequentially warmed up by this provision of hot water. In one of the canals hosting the teleheating pipes, which passes right in front of Bucharest’s main train station, a community of drug users has established its home. There, in four connected underground chambers each measuring roughly 8 meters in length, 2 meters at the maximum height and 1.50 meters wide, the aforementioned community sleep, eat and performs the everyday practices of drug consumption. Relying on extensive ethnographic observations, photo-taking, and interviews undertaken within the premises of the canal, the paper traces and illustrates the socio-material infrastructures characterising this space. This is an assemblage of bodies, veins, syringes, substances, and various relationships of power and affect, which speaks of drug addiction and extreme marginalisation but also of sense of belonging, reciprocal trustiness, and care. The conclusions of the paper highlight the political relevance of investigating this community from its own contextual complexity in order to build a non-normative understanding around drug consumption in contemporary Bucharest.