Paolo Boccagni

PB.jpg Paolo Boccagni, HOMInG’s PI, is a professor in Sociology at the University of Trento. His main research fields are transnational migration, social welfare, care, diversity and home studies, as well as qualitative research at large. He likes working and making connections with colleagues in Europe, America, Australia, and (sooner or later) Asia and Africa, while spending most of his time in Trento, somewhere in Northern Italy. Paolo is a member of the editorial boards of Comparative Migration Studies and Mondi Migranti, and a founding member of the IMISCOE research group IMASP – International migration and social protection. Most recently he has done fieldwork on the views of home of international students, on the socio-legal careers of immigrant domestic workers and on the constructions of diversity among social workers with immigrant clients. Besides teaching, he carries on occasional training, consultancy and volunteering with civil servants, practitioners and students on migration-related issues. Paolo’s publications around the key topics of HOMInG include articles in Housing, Theory and Society (2014), in the Journal of Housing and the Built Environment (2017) and in Housing Studies (2017), as well as the monograph Migration and the search for home: Mapping domestic space in migrants’ everyday lives (Palgrave, 2017). More info:

Barbara Bertolani

foto Barbara Barbara Bertolani is a sociologist with a BA in Political Sciences from Bologna University and a PhD in Sociology form Parma University. She was a Post-doctoral fellow in Sociology at Ferrara University in 2003, 2004 and 2008. From 2006 to 2015 she was Adjunct Professor of Sociology, Sociology of Economic and Labor Processes and of Social Policies in EU at the University of Molise. She did extensive qualitative sociological and ethnographic research on North Africans, South Asians and Sikhs in Italy. Her research interests include inter-marriages, ethnic and kin networks, transnationalism, second generation Sikh youth in Italy, Sikh women and gender violence. She published in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Mondi Migranti, Religioni e Società and Quaderni di Sociologia. Besides her academic commitments, she collaborates with the anti-violence centre of Modena in Italy.

Sara Bonfanti

SB.jpg Dr. Sara Bonfanti is a social anthropologist specialized in gender and migration studies. She holds a BA in Cultural Studies and an MSc in Social Anthropology from Turin University. A former visiting fellow at MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, she earned her PhD in Anthropology and Epistemology of Complexity at Bergamo University. She did extensive research on migrant women’s access to community healthcare across Europe and recently carried out a multisite ethnography between Italy and India investigating gender and generational change among Punjabi diasporic families. Keen on participatory approach, her scientific interests include transnationalism, south Asian Diasporas, cultural and religious pluralism, media cultures, intersectionality and life narratives. Engaged in public anthropology, she has also served as a cultural mediator and instructor of Italian-2nd language for immigrant learners in civic bodies. “My expectations about the project: get the most out of in-depth comparative ethnography; debunk the trite narrative of migrant displacing and re-emplacing; find the (a)synchronous rhythms in HOMInG with a focus on gender and kinship”. More info:

Gabriel Echeverría

Gabriel Echeverría is a political scientist with a BA in International Relations from the University of Bologna and a PhD in International Migration and Social Integration from the Complutense University of Madrid. His research interests have focused on phenomena that somehow defy traditional social and political institutions. In this respect, international migrations appeared to be a key phenomenon. Their “subversive nature” and their “productive challenge” not only force categories to be rethought, but, in so doing, stimulate the opening of new potentialities, the space for a reformulation of paradigms and behaviours. His doctoral research project inquired into the experience of irregular migrants in different contexts and combined a social systems theoretical approach with empirical research methodologies. The results of this work were published in 2020 in the IMISCOE/Springer open access book “Towards a systemic theory of irregular migration. Explaining Ecuadorian Irregular Migration in Amsterdam and Madrid”. Another topic of interest and publications has been citizenship and the differential inclusion/exclusion of migrants in hosting societies. Since 2017, Echeverría has worked as a researcher and instructional designer at the International Cooperation Centre (Trento) where he was responsible for the development of the e-learning program.

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Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia

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Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia’s work focuses on the analysis of the temporal and spatial interplay between conflict, displacement and home, with a particular empirical focus on those who flee because of violence and human rights abuses in Colombia. Prior to joining the Global Development Institute for doing his PhD and working as course co-convenor and research assistant at the University of Manchester’s Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers Group and Migration Lab, Luis Eduardo spent several years teaching and conducting research on issues related to social policies, social, economic, and cultural rights, and internally displaced people in Colombia. He has also several years of experience working as both as a practitioner and as a researcher with displaced people with a range of development and humanitarian organisations including IOM, ICTJ, CICR, UNESCO, WFP and USAID. Luis Eduardo holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Manchester, and a postgraduate diploma in Statistics, a MSc and a BA in Economics from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

Ilka joined HOMInG as postdoctoral researcher. She brings to the team her extensive experience in transnational research, developed through her participation in multi-method and multi-sited projects, over four continents (Africa, America, Asia, Europe). Since 2007, Ilka collaborated closely with quantitatively- and qualitatively-minded researchers to study the implications of international migration, at the economic, political, relational, and socio-cognitive levels. Ilka holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the École Normale Supérieure (ENS Ulm, Paris), a joint Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) and the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris) and a B.A in Political Science (Science Po, Aix-en-Provence). She joined the Woodrow Wilson School, at Princeton, as Procter Fellow (2013 – 2014) and as a visiting fellow at the Center for Migration and Development and the Office of Population Research (2014-2015). As a postdoctoral fellow at UPenn (2015 – 2017), she further developed her expertise on urbanisation, high-skilled migration, and identity formation (see her publications here). In addition to her passion for epistemology and survey design, Ilka loves running, climbing, and dancing.

Bernardo Armanni

Bernardo Armanni is a graduate cultural sociologist, who joined HOMInG as a research assistant in February 2020. In March 2019 he obtained the Joint International Master’s Degree in Cultural Sociology, having the University of Trento as his home institution. In June 2019, he participated in the conference Diaspore Italiane: Between Immigration and Historical Amnesia, held in Genova, presenting his work on the memorialization of Italian migrations. In July and October 2019 he collaborated with HOMInG as enumerator and fieldworker in London.

Stefania Toma

Stefania Toma is sociologist and anthropologist with research experience at the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities. Her research interests include anthropology of ethnic minorities and ethnic relations, migration, economic anthropology and sociology of education. In the HOMInG project she will investigate how migrants’ return shapes social and spatial relationships in multiethnic communities in Romania. During the last years she was involved in a number of national and international collaborative research projects (eg. SocioRoMap – Socio-graphic mapping of the Roma Communities in Romania; MigRom – The Immigration of Romanian Roma to Western Europe). Her recent publications include: Romanian Roma at home: mobility patterns, migration experiences, networks and remittances (with László Fosztó and Cătălina Tesăr), in: Matras, Y. and Leggio, V. (eds.): Open Borders, Unlocked Cultures. Romanian Roma migrants in Western Europe, Routledge, 2017.

Stefania Yapo

Stefania Yapo is a sociologist specialized in migration and citizenship studies. She completed her PhD in March 2020 and joined the HOMInG team as a research assistant. She holds a BA in Political Sciences and a MSc in International Studies and Human Rights from Trento. She has a particular focus on the legal and political implications of migration-related issues at both the national(s) and European level. Before turning to the academic world, she worked as an apprentice for an NGO in Dublin, as a paralegal for a law firm in London and a trained assistant for a private Foundation in Rome. She also has several years of experience collaborating with the Statistical Office of her local area.

Former HOMInGers

Milena Belloni

MB (2) Milena Belloni is an ethnographer specialised in migration and refugee studies. Before her postdoc in Trento, she was a Post-doctoral fellow in Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy in Rome and a Post-doctoral researcher in refugee studies at the Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies (CeMIS) of the University of Antwerp. She holds an MA in Medical Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology from the University of Siena. In 2015 she gained her PhD in Sociology and Social Research in Trento with her multi-sited ethnography on Eritrean forced migration. In 2016 her thesis “Cosmologies of Destinations: roots and routes of Eritrean forced migration towards Europe” won the Maria Baganha IMISCOE 2016 Award for the best doctoral dissertation in migration studies. Milena has conducted extensive fieldwork in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Italy and Belgium. Her research interests mainly concern refugees’ migration dynamics and integration pathways, migrant smuggling, and ethnographic methods. She published in the Journal of Refugee Studies, the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, Human Geography and the International Journal of Comparative Sociology. For more information on her work see

Aurora Massa

aurora4b.jpg Aurora Massa is specialized in medical anthropology and migration studies. She holds a BA and a MA in cultural and social anthropology at Sapienza-University of Rome, and earned her PhD in Anthropology and Epistemology of Complexity from Bergamo University. Recently, she has studied mobility within and from the Horn of Africa, conducting extensive ethnographic research in Ethiopia on Eritrean refugees and Ethiopian returnees, and on transit migration in Italy. Her main fields of inquiry include travelling experiences, conditions of im/mobility, transnational family networks, nationalism “from below” and youth cultures. She is also interested in the relationships between scientific categories and legal labels, and in the methodologies of qualitative research, particularly in contexts of structural violence. Besides her academic commitments, she was consultant for the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and for various international NGOs, and collaborated as a researcher with health care facilities in Ethiopia and Italy and with the German Felsberg Institute on migration studies. She also worked as a civil servant with refugees and unaccompanied migrant children. She is the author of articles in Italian and English and co-editor of the volume Chi cosa. Rifugiati, transnazionalismi, frontiere (2016, Mincione).

Alejandro Miranda

Yo Veracruz 2.jpg Alejandro Miranda is a cultural sociologist with interests spanning social practice, migration, mobilities, social change, transnationalism and rhythmanalysis. His research uses ethnography to investigate the relationship between practices and various forms of circulation and flow. He is also interested in the development of innovative research methods, such as mobile ethnographic techniques and perspectives. He is the author of academic articles on mobilities, musical practice and ethnography. His book, Musical Mobilities: Son Jarocho and the Circulation of Tradition, is forthcoming on the Routledge Advances in Ethnography series. He has taught in universities in Australia and Mexico, and undertaken review for Rowman & Littlefield International. Alejandro holds a PhD in cultural sociology from Western Sydney University, Australia; a Master of Social Science from Linköping University, Sweden; and a BA in sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is also a professional guitarist and composer, has been sound artist in residence at ICE, Parramatta, and has won two awards in chamber music competitions. “I expect from this project to better understand how homing is related to dynamics of movement and place-making; and to advance comparative and multi-site ethnographic methods”.