Grammar of the Urban Ground – new book with Ash Amin for Duke

Grammars of the Urban Ground“, the book I co-edited with Ash Amin for Duke University Press, is now out at

Get 30% off the paperback with code E22GRMMR, and check in the coming weeks for the Open Access version of this volume at (thanks to the support of the British Academy).

This book has been many years in the making. It started with a series of workshops organised by Ash at the BA (as far as 2018 if I remember well), and it germinated into a remarkable compendium of critical urban lexicons from authors that have been foundational to my own urban thinking (see table of content below).

What came out is a – open-access – helpful text for students and scholars interested in grounded, yet experimental, ways of tracing the multiple politics of urban life – from banishment to social junk, from density to transitoriness, from suturations to deformation and to affirmation.

Thanks to Ash for having me in this, to all our authors for the great texts, to the BA for the support and to Courtney Berger at Duke for her wonderful editorial steer.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Thinking Cities from the Ground / Ash Amin and Michele Lancione
1. Social Junk / Natalie Oswin
2. Grammars of Dispossession: Racial Banishment in the American Metropolis / Ananya Roy
3. Future Densities: Knowledge, Politics, and Remaking the City / Colin McFarlane
4. Big: Rethinking the Cultural Imprint of Mass Urbanization / Nigel Thrift
5. Urban Legal Forms and Practices of Citizenship / Mariana Valverde
6. Transitoriness: Emergent Time/Space Formations of Urban Collective Life / Teresa Caldeira
7. Suturing the (W)hole: Vitalities of Everyday Urban Living in Congo Filip De Boeck
8. Infrastructures of Plutocratic London / Caroline Knowles
9. Affirmative Vocabularies from and for the Street / Edgar Pieterse and Tatiana Thieme
10. Deformation: Remaking Urban Peripheries through Lateral Comparison / AbdouMaliq Simone
11. Edge Syntax: Vocabularies for Violent Times / Suzanne M. Hall

New paper around Urban Precarity in Geoforum

The first paper that I thought and wrote since I’ve joined USP and the Urban Institute at Sheffield is out now in Geoforum.  It is called: ‘The politics of embodied urban precarity: Roma people and the fight for housing in Bucharest, Romania’ and it theorises precarity as an embodied affair, grounded in history and producer of the urban political. It builds on the inspiring works of colleagues like Vasudevan, Brickell, Simone, Roy, Chelcea, Vincze and many others. Crucially, it also builds on my experiences with Frontul Comun pentru Dreptul la Locuire — all the thanks to comrades are in the acknowledgement section. You can download the paper for free on Research Gate.

In its printed version, the paper will be part of a special issue around ‘Precarious urbanism’, edited by Hester Parr, Chris Philo and Ola Söderström. Thanks to them for inviting me to take part to this project!

Here is the abstract:

The politics of embodied urban precarity: Roma people and the fight for housing in Bucharest, Romania

The paper provides a nuanced reading of the ways in which conditions of precarity arising from forced evictions are ‘made’ and ‘unmade’ in their unfolding, offering a way to appreciate their performative politics. Grounded in an activist ethnography of evictions against Roma people in Bucharest, Romania, the work provides a reading of urban precarity as not only an embodied product, but also a producer of the urban political. It advances an innovative methodology to investigate the politics of urban precarity, which focuses around four intersecting processes: the historical pre-makings of precarity; the discursive and material displacement of its in-making; embodied resistance as a form of un-making; and authoritarian responses as its re-making. Through its theoretical and methodological insights, the paper contributes to scholarship interested in a critical understanding of embodiment, politics, and urban precarity beyond the analysed case.