I am currently a Researcher in the LUXCORE project (Project number: 313004; Financed by: The Research Council of Norway) and an "Assegnista di ricerca" in Social Anthropology at the University of Bologna. Within LUXCORE, I analyse the conspicuous consumption of transnational elites and the neoliberal moral economy in Africa and Italy. I am also an Adjunct Professor for the 2021/2022 short course in the anthropology of crime and criminalisation for bachelor's students, and an Honorary Teaching Assistant of Social Anthropology, at the University of Bologna (Storia Culture Civiltà - DISCI).
I am the founder and co-convener of the EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) network on the Anthropology of Crime and Criminalisation, AnthroCrime, and Managing Editor of Errantes, Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology.
In 2018, right after my PhD, I spent one year as a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. During that period, I conducted research on Johannesburg domestic private security companies.
In 2016, during my PhD, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Port Harcourt (Nigeria), to shed light on the role of Neo-Pentecostal Christianity in the Niger Delta crises. This region represents one of the main areas from where most international companies (as Shell, Esso and ENI) extract oil and export it to Europe and the world’s emerging economies. While Nigeria’s wealth was built on the oil industry, only a few people could actually access its proceeds, leaving the vast majority of the communities affected by extreme poverty. This resulted in the emergence of armed groups and widespread crime amongst the youth, who aimed to secure (sometimes through violent means) the prosperity they could only fleetingly enjoy. My ethnographic research concentrates on the everyday lives of ordinary people in this context, of which Neo-Pentecostal Christianity was a central part. Nigeria has the second-highest number of Protestants and Neo-Pentecostal Christian churches in the world. From the 1980s onwards, Christian congregations have filled public spaces and provided meaning discourses and practices fundamental to the experiences of a large part of the population. In recent years, the public role of Pentecostalism has been examined in various ways on a global level. However, less has been said about its participation in peacemaking processes, especially in the Niger Delta.
In my PhD thesis, I argue that, despite being more focused on evangelisation than social welfare, Neo-Pentecostal churches played an essential role in the Niger Delta crises. Several pastors and their churches seemed to support the policies the state implemented to counter the armed groups. However, despite sharing with the state the aim of attaining peace, Pentecostal techniques were often different and at odds with state ones. Neo-Pentecostal discourses provided the population, facing widespread violence and insecurities, with both physical and spiritual means and meanings. In response to dreams of wealth and wellbeing denied by national and international economic realities, Neo-Pentecostalism proposed spiritual warfare and a ‘miracle economy’ as alternatives to the armed guerrilla.
social and cultural anthropology; ethnography; peace and conflict; neo-pentecostalism; oil; violence; insecurity; youth; social movements; militants; secret cults; religion; crime; criminalization; politics; consumer capitalism; luxury; ICTs, Technology, fraud; corruption; Niger Delta, Nigeria; South Africa, Africa, Italy.