Keynote Title: On Lessness: Re-centering the politics of home
Abstract: Homelessness is one of the strongest cultural signifiers of the contemporary urban age. It works as a machine intersecting structural economic inequalities with cultural stigmatisation, on top of which a whole assemblage of personal traumatic experiences, institutional policing, and charitable interventions flourish. Despite its pervasiveness, homelessness is still framed as a ‘phenomenon’, a social ‘issue’ amongst others to be dealt with: homelessness as the negation of ‘home’. But what if homelessness is not the exception arising from the lack of shelter, but instead the full and most quintessential representation of what ‘home’ is within capitalistic modes of organising and being? In other words, what if ‘homelessness’ cannot be solved, unless one is ready to fundamentally alter the parameters of ‘home’? This keynote address ‘homelessness’ as a socio, cultural and economic process configured within an exclusionary understanding of ‘home’ and assembled through a number of governmentalities, which are identified with the notion of ‘lessness’. Through several ethnographic vignettes, the fundamental relationship between ‘lessness’ and ‘home’ is showed, revealing the impossibility of any reconfiguration without radical change. The latter is addressed through a number of propositions around a new politics of ‘home’.
Keywords: Homelessness; Politics; Governmentality; Assemblage; Minor Theory
The presentation relates to the following works by the author:
Lancione, M. (monograph in preparation). On Lessness: Recentering the politics of home
Lancione, M. (2016). Beyond Homelessness Studies. European Journal of Homelessness, 10(3), 163-176
Lancione, M. (2013). Homeless people and the city of abstract machines: Assemblage thinking and the performative approach to homelessness: Homeless people and the city of abstract machines. Area, 45(3), 358–364. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12045
Biography: Michele is an urban ethnographer and activist who joined the Urban Institute in September 2017. Having gained his PhD from Durham University (2012), Michele worked at DIST (Turin), UTS (Sydney), the University of Cambridge and the University of Cardiff. Michele’s research challenges mainstream understandings relating to issues of marginality, poverty, and difference in the contemporary urban. His work is of a qualitative kind, sustained by in-depth ethnographic fieldwork and informed by theoretical grounding in assemblage thinking, critical urban theory, affective space, and biopolitics. Recently, Michele conducted extensive research in Bucharest (Romania) around two separate issues: street-level drug use and services for drug users; evictions, activism and homelessness. Michele’s wider research interests include visual and participatory methods, the everyday life of cities, and the role of academics beyond academia. His non-academic works include an ethnographic novel around homelessness (Il numero 1, Eris, 2011) and a full-length video documentary around forced evictions in Bucharest, Romania (A început ploaia – It started raining).
Senior Research Fellow and Director of ECR Development
Dr. Michele Lancione
Keynote Title: How can biogeomorphology science help us better manage social-ecological systems in the Anthropocene?
Abstract: Scientists argue we are now living in the time of the Anthropocene and the latest IPPC report provides stark evidence and a warning that the time is now to act to limit the impact of climate change. Whilst there is a need to mitigate, there is an equally pressing need to for innovative, transformative approaches to adapt our social-ecological systems to become more resilient to the climate changes already acutely felt – as well as plan proactively to live with the future changes our actions have already committed us to. This paper will focus on contributions we can make to the growing challenge of living in the anthropocene, particularly in rapidly urbanising (coastal) cities. Using examples, I will illustrate how geomorphology can contribute to improved urban resilience to growing environmental hazards. This includes: 1) how process-geomorphology can be used at the interface with infrastructure, to measure, predict and mediate asset resilience (via bioprotection, for example); 2) how decadal to centennial scale understanding of coastal/fluvial systems can inform flood alleviation engineering designs; 3) geomorphic contributions to using and valuing nature (e.g. natural capital, net gain, ecosystem services, nature-based solutions); 4) geomorphology and urban ecosystems and 5) geomorphology and urban resilience in an age of climate extremes. Each of these areas presents avenues for fruitful geomorphological science alongside opportunities to raise awareness of the benefits of geomorphological contributions to these debates and practical initiatives. Recent collaborations with artists, designers, engineers, material scientists and social scientists at the science-policy-practice interface will be used to illustrate how and where the global geomorphological community can meaningfully contribute, enriching both our science and the societal relevance of it.
Larissa is a Reader and NERC knowledge exchange fellow at the University of Glasgow. She is an international expert in biogeomorphology, climate change adaptation, rock coast morphodynamics, ecological enhancement and greening of hard infrastructure and navigating the science-policy-practice interface. Larissa helped establish the UK’s Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, has reviewed the coastal chapter for the IPPC and has sat on the IUCN’s peer review college. She was recently an Associate Editor of Earth Surface Processes and Landforms and on the Editorial Board of Annals of the American Association of Geographers. She currently sits on Adaptation Scotland’s Advisory Network and in 2018 won the British Society for Geomorphology’s Gordon Warwick Award and the Halcrow Prize for best paper in the Institution of Civil Engineer’s Journal: Proceedings in Maritime Engineering. The Warwick Award nomination said: "Dr Naylor is an impressive example of the new generation of geomorphologists. She is highly intelligent, energized, and passionate, deeply rooted in conceptual understanding, with extensive field experience and early adopter and innovator in advancing technologies. She is active in applying geomorphology to the significant societal issues we face in the Anthropocene."
She has worked in government, industry and academia in both the UK and Canada as a scientist, policy advisor and knowledge broker. She currently leads two NERC projects, looking at ecosystem-based urban coastal adaptation to climate change with partners in England and Scotland and a NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation project focussed on improving multi functionality of hard infrastructure that must remain primarily grey via greening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJQdURjiztc She is also leading the adaptation component of Scotland’s Dynamic Coast Phase 2, which examines coastal erosion and erosion-induced flood risks across Scotland (www.dynamiccoast.com) and is exploring adaptation options to live with these risks.
Reader for Physical Geography, University of Glasgow