Dr Giovanni Picker
- Lecturer in the Sociology of Inequalities (Sociology)
I am currently a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Sociology of Inequalities. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology and Comparative Urban Studies from Milan-Bicocca University (2009), and a B.A. + M.A. in Political Sciences and Cultural Sociology from the State University of Milan (2004).
Prior to joining Glasgow University, I was Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Research Fellow in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at Birmingham University (2016-2018), and before that I received a number of research fellowships in Romania, Russia, Hungary and Germany (2010-2016).
As an ethnographer interested in urban life, politics, economy, and culture, I draw on participant observation, archival, and other research methods to examine dominant logics and shared understandings of belonging, moral worth, incorporation, and exclusion. I am especially interested in race as a principle of social organization, and the ways in which racism plays out at the crossings of everyday life and urban politics.
From 2006 to 2015 I carried out field research in a number of European medium-size cities, analyzing multiple social dynamics in and around segregated and stigmatized "Gypsy urban areas". The most comprehensive result of this research is Racial Cities: Governance and the Segregation of Romani People in Urban Europe [Routledge, 2017], a monograph that ethnographically and historically explains the genesis and persistence of these urban areas in both Eastern and Western Europe. The book argues that it is necessary to recognize race, in its various historical and present-day forms, as one of the main principles behind the social organization of European cities.
My current book project, entitled Planning White Europe, builds on Racial Cities and continues the effort towards dissecting and explaining the contextual ways in which race contributes to structuring urban societies in continental Europe. Through an ethnographic and historical study of three planning projects in as many European capitals, the book aims at contributing historical and ethnographic knowledge to both academic and policy debates on "diversity", urban marginality, relational racism, and planning.
Related research interests
- Ethnographic Theory
- Anthropology of Policy
- Camps for Civilians
- Global and European Histories of the Left (esp. Italy)
- Socialism and Postsocialism - Theory and History (esp. Central and Eastern Europe)
- Colonialism and (Post)Colonial Urbanism
I would like to hear from students considering a Ph.D. on subjects relating to any, or a combination, of the following areas:
- Urban Sociology (housing; urban informality; urban marginality; urban social movements; urban cultures; urban political economy; colonial and postcolonial urbanism)
- Race Critical Theories (everyday racism; the racial state; nationalism; racial neoliberalism; the postracial)
- Socialism and Postsocialism in Europe (post-1989 "transitions"; urban history and sociology; Postsocialism in Western Europe)
- Ethnographic Theory (reflexivity; comparison; emic vs. etic; ethnographic selves)
- Anthropology of the State (decision-making processes; street-level bureaucracy; socio-legal studies)
On my website there are additional information which might be helpful. I am happy to informally discuss via email on a possible Ph.D. research idea.
Global Inequalities (BA) Contributor - Semester 1
Racial Justice and the City (MA) - Semester 1
Sociology of the City (BA Hon) - Semester 2
- I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- I am the coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe and Russia of the Summer School on Black Europe: Interrogating Citizenship, Race and Ethnic Relations. For any information on the Summer School, please email me. All details here: blackeurope.org
- More information on my work is available on my personal website.