Welcome to my website. I do research, teach and write in the Social Sciences. My field research on race, cities and nationalism extended across Europe -- Kosovo, Romania, Italy, the UK, France and Germany. In 2017 I published Racial Cities: Governance and the Segregation of Romani People in Urban Europe, a multi-focal ethnographic book which bridges Race Critical Theories and Urban Studies from a global and historical perspective, to explain the post-WWII emergence and persistence of deprived and segregated urban areas across Europe that are stigmatized as "Gypsy urban areas". I also have published six thematic collections on the relationships between urban spaces, the state and everyday forms of domination, by critically engaging with the theoretical canon and historical horizon of typically West-centred social science perspectives and approaches.

I am active in international research and education projects, including the Summer School on Black Europe that takes place every year at IIRE (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). I value collaborations with artists, journalists, activists and researchers - for collaborations or for any query, get in touch.


My broad research interests lie at the intersections of urban life, race and the state. I am also interested in the histories of the Left; ethnographic theory; Socialism and Postsocialism; the making of Europe as both a polity and an ideal, and the historical sociology and anthropology of colonialism. I currently am writing a monograph focusing on European urbanism as a constitutive element of the global history of race.


European cities: Modernity, race and colonialism. Manchester University Press, 2022. Edited with Noa K. Ha.

European cities: Modernity, race and colonialism is a multidisciplinary collection of scholarly studies which rethink European urban modernity from a race-conscious perspective, being aware of (post-)colonial entanglements. The twelve original contributions empirically focus on such various cities as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cottbus, Genoa, Hamburg, Madrid, Mitrovica, Naples, Paris, Sheffield, and Thessaloniki, engaging multiple combinations of global urban studies and postcolonial, decolonial and race critical theories from various global and historical perspectives. Primarily inspired by the notion of Provincializing Europe (Dipesh Chakrabarty) the collection interrogates dominant, Eurocentric theories, representations and models of European cities across the East-West divide, offering the reader alternative perspectives to understand and imagine urban life and politics.

With its focus on Europe, this book ultimately contributes to decades of rigorous critical race scholarship on varied global urban regions. European cities is vital reading for anyone interested in the complex interactions between colonial legacies and constructions of 'modernity', in view of catering to social change and urban justice..

European Cities

Racialized Labour in Romania: Spaces of Marginality at the Periphery of Global Capitalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2019. Edited with Enikő Vincze, Norbert Petrovici, and Cristina Raţ.

This book critically examines the making and persistence of impoverished areas at the margins of Romanian cities since the late 1980s. Through their historical outlook on political economy and social policy, combined with media and discourse analysis, the eight essays of Racialized Labour in Romania forge new and cutting-edge perspectives on how social class formation, spatial marginalization and racialization intersect. The empirical focus on cities and the labour and the plight of the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe provides a vantage point for establishing connections between urban and global peripheries, and for reimagining the global order from its margins. The book will appeal to scholars, students, journalists and policy makers interested in Labour; Race and Ethnicity; Cities; Poverty; Social Policy; Political Economy and European Studies.

Racial cities: Governance and the segregation of Romani people in urban Europe. Abingdon and New York: Routledge (Foreword by Éric Fassin), 2017.

Going beyond race-blind approaches to spatial segregation in Europe, Racial Cities argues that race is the logic through which stigmatized and segregated "Gypsy urban areas" have emerged and persisted after World War II. Building on nearly a decade of ethnographic and historical research in Romania, Italy, France and the UK, Giovanni Picker casts a series of case studies into the historical framework of circulations and borrowings between colony and metropole since the late nineteenth century.

Introduction available here

By focusing on socio-economic transformations and social dynamics in contemporary Cluj-Napoca, Pescara, Montreuil, Florence and Salford, Picker detects four local segregating mechanisms, and comparatively investigates resemblances between each of them and segregation in French Rabat, Italian Addis Ababa, and British New Delhi. These multiple global associations across space and time serve as an empirical basis for establishing a solid bridge between race critical theories and urban studies.Racial Cities is the first comprehensive analysis of the segregation of Romani people in Europe, providing a fine-tuned and in-depth explanation of this phenomenon.

Racial and Post-Racial Senses of Place

EDITED SPECIAL ISSUE -- International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 39(11/12), 2019. Edited with Karim Murji.

Racial Urbanities: Towards a Global Cartography

EDITED SPECIAL ISSUE -- Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 25(1), 2019. Edited with Karim Murji and Manuela Boatcă.

Confined Informality: Global Margins, Statecraft and Urban Life

EDITED SPECIAL ISSUE -- International Sociology, 32(4), 2017. Edited with Silvia Pasquetti.

Durable Camps: The State, The Urban, The Everyday

EDITED SPECIAL ISSUE -- City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 19(5), 2015. Edited with Silvia Pasquetti.

2021 The Italian Postracial Archive. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 44(2): 195-214. With Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfau'.

2021 Racist Morbidities: A Conjunctural Analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic. European Societies, 23(1): 307-320. With Karim Murji.

2020 [Commentary] Anti-gitanismo, conocimiento racial y amnesia colonial . SOCIOLOGÍA HISTÓRICA, (10):237-246.

2019 [Editorial] Race and Place. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 39(11/12), 913-922. With Karim Murji.

2019 Sovereignty beyond the State: Exception and Informality in a Western European City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 43(3), 576-581.

2019 [Editorial] Racial Urbanities: Towards a Global Cartography. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 25(1): 1-10. With Karim Murji and Manuela Boatcă.

2017 [Editorial] Urban informality and confinement: Toward a relational framework. International Sociology. 32(4): 532–544. With Silvia Pasquetti.

2017 Rethinking Ethnographic Comparison: Two Cities, Five Years, One Ethnographer. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 46(3): 2, 63-284.

2016 ‘That neighbourhood is an ethnic bomb!” The emergence of an urban governance apparatus in Western Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(2): 136 –148.

2015 [Editorial] Durable Camps: The State, the Urban, the Everyday. CITY: Analysis  of  Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 19(5): 681-88. With Silvia Pasquetti.

2015 Colonial Refractions: The “Gypsy Camp” as a Spatio-Racial Political Technology, CITY: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, 19(5): 741-752. With David Smith and  Margaret Greenfields.

2014 Abnormalising minorities. The state and expert knowledge addressing the Roma in Italy, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 21(2): 185-201. With Gabriele Roccheggiani.

2013 'Țiganu-i țigan': Verbal Icons and Urban Marginality in a Post-socialist European City, Civilisations. Revue internationale d’anthropologie e de sciences humaines, 62(1): 51-70, 2013.

2013. La biopolitica della differenza. Un’antropologia delle politiche dei campi nomadi di Firenze, DADA. Rivista di antropologia postglobale, 2: 99-110.

2013. Sedentarisation and 'the right to nomadism': The urban and regional fabric of nomad camps in Italy (1967-1995), Zeitgeshichte. Journal of Contemporary History, 40(5): 276-286.

2011 'Welcome 'in'. Left-wing Tuscany and Romani migrants' (1988-2007), Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16(5): 607-620.

2006 Fieldwork between Distance and Intimacy: Reflections on a Photo  Exhibition on the Streets, ACHAB. Rivista di Antropologia, 6, 33-42.

2005 Le due rive di Mitrovica. Il ponte sul fiume Ibar/Ibër come frontiera interna. Conflitti Globali, (2):119-129.

2015 Sedentarizzazione e 'diritto al nomadismo': la genesi dei campi nomadi in Italia, Historia Magistra. Rivista di Storia  Critica, 7(18): 73-84. (TRANSLATION of "Sedentarization and the 'right to nomadism'")

2022 Introduction: Rethinking the European Urban. In Ha, N. K. and Picker, G. (eds.) European Cities: Modernity, Race and Colonialism. Manchester University Press, 1-34. With Noa K. Ha.

2019 Racial Segregation: Camps for Roma and Slums in Italy. In Cortés Gómez, I. and End, M. (eds.) Dimensions of Antigypsyism in Europe. Brussels: European Network Against Racism (ENAR), 180-197. With Elisabetta Vivaldi.

2019 Conclusion: (Re)centring Labour, Class and Race. In Vincze, E., Petrovici, N., Rat, C. and Picker, G. (eds) Racialized Labour in Romania: Spaces of Marginality at the Periphery of Global Capitalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 107-226.

2017 Post-Socialist Europe and its 'Constitutive Outside': Ethnographic Resemblances for a Comparative Research Agenda. In Krase, J. and Uherek, Z. (eds) Diversity and Local Contexts: Urban Space, Borders and Migration. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 39-53.

2017 Social Inclusion/Exclusion. In Bryan S. Turner, Chang Kyung-Sup, Cynthia F. Epstein, Peter Kivisto, William Outhwaite, and J. Michael Ryan (eds) The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Blackwell,

2013 Policy Logic and the Spatial Segregation of Roma in Europe: The Cases of Florence (Italy) and Cluj-Napoca (Romania). In Zincone, G. and Ponzo, I. (eds) How European Cities Craft Immigrant Integration: Something to Learn. Brussels: Foundation for European Progressive Studies, 40-57.

2012 Left-Wing Progress? Neo-nationalism and the Case of Romany Migrants in Italy. In Stewart, M. (ed) The Gypsy ‘Menace’. Populism and the New anti-Gypsy Politics. London: Hurst & Co., 81-94.

2012 Territori postcoloniali ai limiti. I campi per rom in Italia e Francia tra doxa e storia. In Galeotti, M. E. and Ceva, E. (a cura di) Lo spazio del rispetto. Milano: Bruno Mondadori, 96-121

2011 Inclusione, esclusione, enclusione. Per un'etnografia della governance di rom migranti in Italia. In Zago, M. e Baldini, S. (a cura di) Il mosaico rom. Specificità culturali e governance multilivello. Milano: Franco Angeli, 77-87.

2010 Nomads’ Land? Political cultures and nationalist stances vis-à-vis Roma in Italy. In Stewart, M. and Rövid, M. (eds) Multidisciplinary Approaches to Romany Studies. Budapest: Central European University Press, 211-227.

Review of Graff, Kristina and Noa Ha (eds) 2015. Street Vending in the Neoliberal City: A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy . New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.Urbanities, 8(1): 80-81, 2018.

Review of Lloyd, Christopher D. Shuttleworth, Ian G. and David W. Wong (eds), 2015. Social-spatial segregation: Concepts, processes and outcomes . Bristol: Policy Press. Urban Research and Practice, 9(2): 226-28, 2016.

Review of Sassen, Saskia. 2014. Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Urban Studies. 59(2): 1742-1745, 2015.

Review of Smith, David and Margaret Greenfields. 2013. Gypsies and Travellers in housing: The decline of nomadism'. Bristol: Policy Press. Roma Rights (1): 113-14, 2014.

Review of Palidda, Salvatore (ed). 2010. Racial Criminalization of Migrants in the 21st Century, Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate. Critical Sociology, 38(2): 333-335, 2012.

Review of Shore, Cris, Wright, Susan and Davide Però (eds). 2011.Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(4): 780-781, 2011.

Review of Bravi, Luca. 2009. Between Inclusion and Exclusion: A Social History of Roma and Sinti Education in Italy [Italian]. Milan: Unicopli Press. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16(5): 735-737, 2011.

Joint review: Vitale, Tommaso (ed) 2009. Possible Policies: Living in Cities with Roma and Sinti [Italian]. Rome: Carocci. And Cerchi, Roberto and Loy, Gianni(eds) 2009. Roma and Sinti in Italy: Between Stereotypes and Denied Rights [Italian]. Rome: Ediesse. Modern Italy, 16(3): 398-401, 2011.

Review of Sigona, Nando and Nidhi Trehan (eds) 2009. Romani Politics in Contemporary Europe: Poverty, Ethnic Mobilization and the Neoliberal Order, Basingstoke: Palgrave. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(9): 167-169, 2010.

Review of Però, Davide, 2007. Inclusionary Rhetoric/Exclusionary Practices: Left-wing Politics and Migrants in Italy, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. Anthropology in Action, 16(3): 69-70, 2009. [Italian translation, Studi Emigrazione, XVII (3): 56-7, 2009].


Higher School of Economics - Moscow & University of Milan-Bicocca (2011-2014)

Public Sociology (MA - HSE)

Embodied Nationalisms: Ethnography and Nation Building (MA - M-B)

Doing Ethnography (BA - HSE)

European University Viadrina (2015-2016)

Anthropology of Camps (MA)

Sociology of Race and Racism (BA)

Urban Anthropology (BA)

University of Birmingham (2017)

Sociology of Race and Racism (MA)

University of Glasgow (2018-2024)

Critique and Criticism (PhD)

Racial Justice and the City (MA)

Global Inequalities (BA)

Ethno-graphing Race and Racism (BA)

Sociology of the City (BA)


  • University of Glasgow

    School of Social and Political Sciences

    Adam Smith Building

    40 Bute Gardens

    Glasgow, G12 8RS

    United Kingdom

  • Giovanni.Picker@glasgow.ac.uk

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