I wrote my doctoral dissertation at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the European University Institute in Florence under the supervision of Rainer Bauböck. I completed my thesis in April 2018: The politics of regional citizenship. Explaining variation in the right to health care for undocumented immigrants across Italian regions, Spanish autonomous communities, and Swiss cantons. In the thesis I show that distinct traditions of regional protection of vulnerable individuals—like minor children, the disabled, and the homeless—can be used to challenge and contest national governments’ ideas about citizenship and their policies
After moving to the University of Neuchatel at the end of 2017, I have continued to study the politics of inclusion and exclusion from citizenship rights in multilevel countries, with a specific focus on healthcare. In my first peer-reviewed article, I discuss the strategies that subnational governments use to pioneer, mitigate and resist the decisions of the central government, ultimately re-defining the meaning of citizenship for vulnerable subjects: 'The regional battleground: Partisanship as a key driver of the subnational contestation of Citizenship' (Ethnopolitics, 2019). In my second peer-reviewed article I show how, by activating traditions of regional citizenship, subnational governments define distinctive preferences concerning migration, healthcare and welfare policies and Traditions of regional citizenship: Explaining subnational variation of the right to healthcare for undocumented immigrants (Regional Studies, 2019).
At the same time, together with some colleagues, I have also studied the inclusion of foreign residents and other categories of mobile individuals into political rights, using a large-N legal trend analyses of electoral norms: the Conditions for Electoral Rights. We designed this database to facilitate the comparative analysis of the practice of voting, standing as candidate, and the regulation of mechanisms that enable different groups of individuals to participate in political processes within and across states. In a co-authored article written together with Samuel D. Schmid and Jean-Thomas Arrighi, we show that the contestation of the right to vote and to stand as candidate takes place towards multiple groups of voters, at multiple levels of government, and in multiple types of elections: 'Non-universal suffrage: measuring electoral inclusion in contemporary democracies' (European Political Science, 2019). More recently, I wrote another article comparing the debates in regional assemblies in Europe to give voting rights to foreign residents. While these debates are almost invariably unsuccessful, they can lead to broader reforms of political rights at the national level: Multilevel strategies of political inclusion: The contestation of voting rights for foreign residents by regional assemblies in Europe (Regional & Federal Studies).
Since March 2020, I have started to track restrictions to human mobility introduced by governments to curb the spread of COVID-19. Preliminary results from this research are available under the project's page, Citizenship, Migration and Mobility in a Pandemic. One of the first outputs is the article 'Citizenship, Migration and Mobility in a Pandemic (CMMP): A global dataset of COVID-19 restrictions on human movement' (Plos One, 2021) where, together with Jelenza Dzankic and Didier Ruedin, we present two datasets and we show that the spread of medical documentation and other requirements as conditions for border entry means that in many countries standard travel documents are no longer sufficient to cross national borders. At the same time, by capturing the wide range of exceptions granted by governments, we show that governments are still dependent on human movement and therefore need to combine different tools to ensure the basic mobility of individuals.
Over the years, I have benefited from visiting fellowships at Fondazione ISMU, Milan, Italy (2017); Collegio Carlo Alberto and the Forum Internazionale ed Europeo di Ricerche sull'Immigrazione, Turin, Italy (2016-2017); Swiss Forum of Migration and Population Studies at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland (2016); Department of Political Science of McGill University, Canada (2015); and Scottish Centre for Constitutional Change of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2014).
My analyses have been published on openDemocracy, LSE Europp blog, LSE British Politics and Policy blog, The Loop, The Washington Post, and Unimondo. My research has appeared on The Democratic Audit, The Guardian, Radio Svizzera Italiana and Radio France International.
I serve as a reviewer for several academic journals, including: Citizenship Studies, Health Policy, International Migration, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, European Political Science Review, Regional and Federal Studies.
I also acted as an expert for the case study of Emilia-Romagna in the project Regions for migrants and refugees integration and for a project on 'Covid-19 and international migrants' for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
© 2019 by LORENZO PICCOLI.