New paper in City on Homelessness and Public institutions

The 'Emergenza Freddo' camp in Turin, 2010 (Photo ML)
The ‘Emergenza Freddo’ camp in Turin, 2010 (Photo ML)

City has recently published one of my paper on homelessness, from my 2010 fieldwork in Turin, Italy. The paper can be downloaded here, below is the abstract.

Lancione, M. (2014), Assemblages of care and the analysis of public policies on homelessness in Turin, Italy, City, 18:1, 25-40

This paper investigates the ways urban policies on homelessness are discursively framed and practically enacted in Turin, Italy. The notion of ‘assemblages of care’ is introduced to show how these policies contribute to the constitution of different experiences of homelessness, by means of their discursive blueprints and practical enactments. Relying on 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork, the paper questions four policies. Three of these interventions are found to have negative impacts on homeless people’s emotions and ways of life; the remaining policy, I argue, holds the potential to produce alternative assemblages and more positive engagement with the individuals encountered. The conclusion provides more general critical reflections on urban policy and homelessness.

New paper: The Chronotopes of Change


The Journal of Change Management has just published one of my paper, co-authored with Stewart Clegg. The paper is related to my research on UTS Business School and the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building.

Title: “The Chronotopes of Change: Actor- Networks in a Changing Business School”

Abstract: This article investigates how a leading business school is reshaping its identity through a process that includes, but is not limited to, the building of a new facility designed by the Canadian architect Frank Gehry, as well as a major revision of the teaching programmes, ethos and branding. By investigating this process in an actor-network theory fashion, and introducing the notion of chronotope, the article answers three central questions related to the notion of change: How does organizational change happen in the daily life of a project? What gives unity to a chain of small relational changes? How can processual change possibly be managed? Theoretically, the article argues that change emerges in the micro-dynamics of organizing, fragments that are stitched together by macro-dominant narratives, in a constant process of translations that occur between human and non-human actants. The management of change is pursued through a constant micro- politics of network maintenance and enactment.

Keywords: Processual change, actor-network, chronotope, translation, maintenance

To read it, click here.

To cite it: Lancione, M., Clegg, S.R., (2013), The chronotopes of change: Actor-networks in a changing Business School, The Journal of Change Management, DOI:10.1080/14697017.2012.753930

Different living in difference: the micro-politics of diversity among homeless people

I will present at the “International Conference on Living with Difference” 12-13 September 2012, Marriott Hotel, Leeds, UK. The paper is titled “Different living in difference. The micro-politics and micro-engineering of diversity among homeless people”, and it is a development of my work on homeless people. You can download the PPT here.


This work is based upon an ethnographic enquiry in Turin, North-West of Italy, where the author has investigated homelessness as a subjective condition that emerges from the entanglements between the individual and the city. Taking into account both Italian and migrant homeless subjects, this paper investigates the daily encounter between them, while considering that the two heterogeneous groups are already framed as “different” by mainstream societal discourses. In this sense, the two groups share a stigmatized “common land” (Amin, 2012), where their diversity is constantly re-produced, negotiated and challenged. In order to offer a grounded understanding of these latter processes, the paper takes two paths. The first relates to a description of the practices through which different homeless people perform their common land. Presenting original ethnographic material, the paper shows the relational patterns that emerge in the daily lives of these street people, highlighting how conflicts and alliances depend more on contextual dynamics than personal or group differences. This point is then further explored in the second half of the paper, where the urban, contextual machineries that frame homeless people’s lives are excavated. By showing how mainstream discourses on the poor and the migrants translate into public and private services, the paper argues that it is within these micro-engineered frameworks that a normative kind of difference emerges and becomes an issue. In the end, suggesting a grounded and relational take on difference, this paper concludes by proposing sketches of a politics of care able to tackle the production of normative others, in order to foster the positive negotiation of difference that already exists among homeless people.

Amin, A. 2012. Land of Strangers. Cambridge: Polity press.


Business Schools on the edge of the crisis

I will present a paper at the 7th Annual Ethnography Symposium, University of Liverpool, 29th-31st August 2012. Below title and abstract. (This is part of my research on the Dr Chau Chak Wing project of UTS Business School, click here for more info). To download the presentation, click here.

“The global, the local and the production of territory. Or: How a Business School creates (new?) organizational patterns to answer to (old?) neoliberal crisis”

This paper poses a central question: how do “local” territories emerge in the globalized world in time of crisis, and how in particular does this relate to the process of change undertaken by many Business School around the world? In order to answer, the paper re-works canonical understandings of globalization and presents the outcome of a seven month ethnographic fieldwork, which focuses on the process of change currently undertaken by UTS’ Business School. The outcomes of this research are essentially three. Firstly, it provides a fluid and topologically tuned understanding of how territories are produced in the current global economy. Secondly, it unfolds the process of change undertaken by the School, revealing both its rationale and most nuanced dynamics. Thirdly, the paper identifies three movements in the production of territory: aligning, translating and opening. The three forms the “ATOm” schematization proposed at the end of the work, which offers the analytical standpoint from which it is possible to critique the neoliberal rationale underpinning Business Schools’ changes.

Globalization, Territory, Business School, Assemblage, Neoliberalism, ATOm


Organizing a utopian state of exception

Photo source:

A new article on the Journal of Political Power. If you would like to read it, please send me an email here.

Cunha, P.M., Rego, A., Clegg, S. and Lancione, M. (2012), Organizing a utopian State of Exception: The case of the S-21 extermination camp, Phnom Penh, The Journal of Political Power, 5:2, p. 279-299


Organization theory, Clegg pointed out, has failed to address the role of organi- zations in some of the crimes of/against humanity, suggesting that more atten- tion should be given to the case of total institutions. With this paper we respond to Clegg’s invitation and study the S-21 extermination camp, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We do so by engaging with the work of the Italian philosopher Gior- gio Agamben, with the aim of investigating the organizational patterns that con- stitute the camp as a ‘State of Exception’. Doing so shows us how organizations can become malign forces for evil. We explore the implications of this case for more general ‘Kafkaesque organization’, that sometimes reproduce, in more benign forms, many of the practices found at S-21.

Keywords: total institutions; evil organizations; Cambodia; Khmer Rouge; S-21; Kafkaesque organizing; state of exception; bios; zoe; bare life