Photo of Raffaela Puggioni

Raffaela Puggioni
Research Associate (School of Global Studies)


My research expertise cuts across the field of International Relations Theory, Migration Studies, Citizenship Studies, Resistance Studies and Border Studies. 

My research has developed along the following three lines of enquiry: 1) international migration and refugee protection beyond traditional state-centric analysis, 2) in the area of everyday practices, by focussing on practices of resistance inside holding centres, camps and border-zones; and 3) in the area of political subjectivity, exploring in particular the ways by which ‘undocumented’ migrants resist dominant politics of (im)mobility and violent practices inside holding centres.  

In my book, Rethinking International Protection: The Sovereign, the State, the Refugee (2016), I highlighted the distinction between protection and assistance, and particularly, the difference between a politics of protection in which states are the sole guarantor for allocating and respecting rights and a politics of assistance in which charities and international agencies are tasked with the delivery of goods and the satisfaction of basic needs. I suggested that there is a need to move away from the (dominant) concept of negative protection, which entails a protection from — persecution, violence and life-threatening events — and to embrace the concept of positive protection — a protection towards emancipation, safety and human rights — which requires the direct involvement of the liberal/constitutional state. Thus, if we were to rethink protection, more attention should be devoted to (the attribute of) the state: not the sovereign state but the constitutional state. Not the sovereign state that protects itself from refugees but the constitutional state whose core function is to protect.    

I am currently working on a new project that critically engages with current debate on ‘governing migration’. However, rather than investigating how mobility is controlled, disciplined and governed as great part of IR literature does, I question whether the ‘subject of mobility’ — and specifically the border-crosser — might be governed through dominant security dispositifs. My reading of governmentality-cum-mobility suggests that there is a need to integrate ‘how questions’ with ‘who questions’. Not simply how to control, govern and manage border (people), but also who is the subject to be controlled, governed, and managed. If we accept Foucault’s analysis according to whim power is to be thought as a relation, the question of how power works in practice cannot be disjoined from the subjects upon whom it operates. Not only it is central to investigate the question of “how” power operates but it is also central to investigate the subjects upon whom power is enacted. In other words, because each regime makes, unmakes and remakes its subjects, security dispositifs should not be investigated irrespectively of the concrete and lived subjects upon whom those dispositifs are chosen, institutionalised, and put into practice. 

PUBLICATIONS (Sole-authored works)


-          Rethinking International Protection: The Sovereign, the State, the Refugee, in Migration, Minorities and Citizenship Series, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals 

-          Choosing to Be Political: Some Reflections on Youth Activism in the US, Citizenship Studies 22: 3 (2018), pp. 243-258.  

-          Border Politics, Right to Life and Acts of Dissensus: Voices from Lampedusa-Borderland, Third World Quarterly 36: 6 (2015), pp. 1145-1159, Special Issue, Louiza Odysseos and Anna Selmeczi (eds.) The Power of Human Rights/The Human Rights of Power. 

-          Speaking Through the Body: Detention and Bodily Resistance in Italy, Citizenship Studies 18: 5 (2014), pp. 562-577, Special Issue, Raia Prokhovnik (ed.), The Body as a Site for Politics: Citizenship and Practices of Contemporary Slavery.

 -          Against Camps’ Violence: Some Voices on Italian Holding Centres, Political Studies 62: 4 (2014), pp. 945-960. 

-          Refugees, Self-Help Strategies, and Institutional Invisibility: Evaluating Kurdish Experience in Rome, Journal of Refugee Studies 18: 3 (2005), pp. 319-339. 


-          Border Politics, Right to Life and Acts of Dissensus: Voices from Lampedusa-Borderland, in Louiza Odysseos and Anna Selmeczi (eds.) The Power of Human Rights/The Human Rights of Power, Routledge, 2017. 

-          Italian Politics of Asylum: No Settlement, Reception Only, in Monica K. Zimmermann (ed.), Political Refugees: Social Conditions, Health and Psychological Characteristics, Nova Science Publishers, 2008, pp. 63-84.

 -          Resisting Sovereign Power: Camps in-between Exception and Dissent, in Jef Huysmans, Andrew Dobson, and Raia Prokhovnik (eds.) The Politics of Protection. Sites of Insecurity and Political Agency, Routledge, 2006, pp. 68-83.

-           Looking for Some Coherence: Migrants in-between Criminalisation and Protection, in Elspeth Guild and Paul Minderhoud (eds.), Immigration and Criminal Law in the European Union, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006, pp. 169-200.