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Dr Lorenzo Vianelli

Postdoctoral Research Associate

 Amory C255


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


Lorenzo Vianelli is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the ERC-funded project ASYFAIR, which is led by Professor Nick Gill and examines asylum appeals in different EU countries. Lorenzo is responsible for conducting research in Italy.

Lorenzo obtained his PhD at the University of Warwick in 2018 with a thesis on the multiple and contested forms of power through which asylum seekers are governed through reception in diverse local contexts in the EU. After the PhD, Lorenzo was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Luxembourg, where he carried out a study of the Luxembourgish reception system for the H2020 project CEASEVAL.

Lorenzo also has an extensive practical experience in the field of asylum reception and procedure, which he acquired through work experiences as well as through the involvement with non-profit associations. 

Broad research specialisms

Critical migration and border studies
Political and human geography
Migration and border control
Foucauldian toolbox (governmentality, analytics of power, dispositif, genealogy)
Geographical and anthropological approaches to the state
Ethnography and qualitative research methods
Anthropology of bureaucracy, institutions, and organisations


BA in Cultures and Human Rights Studies (2005), Università di Bologna (IT)
MA with distinction in International Cooperation, Regulation and Protection of Rights (2008), Università di Bologna (IT)
Specialisation course in Anthropology of Migration (2013), Università di Milano-Bicocca (IT)
PhD in Politics and International Studies (2018), University of Warwick


Research interests

Lorenzo's PhD thesis “Governing Asylum Seekers. Logistics, Differentiation, and Failure in the European Union’s Reception Regime” employs Foucauldian analytical tools to explore the multiple and contested ways through which asylum seekers are governed through reception in diverse contexts in the EU. Combining the analytical perspective of governmentality with regime analysis which follows those proposed by critical migration studies, the thesis aims to identify features and functioning of a possible EU government of asylum seekers, which is defined as EU reception regime. Through a rich empirical study primarily based on semi-structured interviews with a range of different actors in several contexts in Italy and Sweden, three key modes of operation of the EU reception regime are identified: logistics, differentiation, and failure. These three modes of governing asylum seekers, it is argued, attribute to the EU reception regime three specific qualities by transforming it into a reception industry, a reception roulette, and a reception dispositif. 

Research projects

ASYFAIR – Fair and Consistent Border Controls? A Critical, Multi-Methodological and Interdisciplinary Study of Asylum Adjudication in Europe



Supervision / Group

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