My research program unites an interest in the state/society nexus with a focus on the consequences of globalization on local peoples, now and in the past. As a political and historical anthropologist, I have worked on themes ranging from the unlicensed uses of violence in society, the processes of state formation, the mechanisms of social memory, the construction of locality, the dynamics of ethnic, religious, and regional identities, and conceptions of citizenship, belonging, and social exclusion. My regional specialization is Europe and the Mediterranean, and my interest in history centres on perceptions of the past and how they inform social action in the present. This latter concern has influenced my research and writing on Sardinia, and yielded a monograph, currently in preparation, titled The Violence of History: State and Society in Sardinia.
As of 2011, ethnographic research on Sicily has examined the mechanisms by which refugees and migrants are integrated within their host communities, as well as the roadblocks to successful recognition of the social, cultural, and economic needs of new Italians. A brief period of fieldwork on Lampedusa allowed me to examine how a tiny island community responds to the arrival of undocumented migrants to its shores, and allowed insight into the discordant dynamics of hospitality and xenophobia at the local level.
A theoretical interest in the methodological developments of the past two decades is behind a third project. ‘Resiting the Village: Places of Anthropological Practice’ -- a special issue of the journal Critique of Anthropology, co-edited with Jonathan Padwe (University of Hawaii) and Sara Shneiderman (Yale University) -- re-examines the ontological status of 'the village' in Anthropology, and in so doing considers the shift away from classic conceptualizations of ‘the field’ in favour of multi-sited approaches, as well as the effect that this has had on anthropological practice in the twenty-first century.
In progress. The Violence of History: State and Society in Sardinia. (book-length monograph)
In progress. Resiting the Village: Places of Anthropological Practice (Special issue of Critique of Anthropology, co-edited by Antonio Sorge, Jonathan Padwe, and Sara Shneiderman).
In progress. Mountain Ecumenes: Territorial Autonomy and Traditionalism in the Mediterranean, in Allan Dawson, Laura Zanotti, and Ismael Vaccaro, eds. Negotiating Territoriality: Spatial Dialogues between State and Tradition. Routledge Press.
In progress. Between Xenophobia and Hospitality, in Luciano Baracco and Federica Mazzara, eds. Reimagining Europe's Borderlands: Undocumented Migrants on Lampedusa (special issue of research journal in preparation).
2012. Mobile Humanity: The Delocalization of Anthropological Research. Reviews in Anthropology 41 (4):1-29. (with Andrew P. Roddick)
2009. Hospitality, Friendship, and the Outsider in Highland Sardinia. Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe 9 (1):4-12.
2008. Divergent Visions: Localist and Cosmopolitan Identities in Highland Sardinia. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 14:808-24.