Tommaso Vitale

Dean of Urban School of Sciences Po

Tommaso Vitale (Ph.D in Sociology, MA in Political Science, both at the University of Milan) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po (Paris, France) where he is the scientific director of the Master "Governing the Large Metropolis" (Sciences Po Urban School), and a researcher at Centre d'études européennes et de politique comparée, where he co-coordinates with V. Guiraudon the research program "Cities, borders and (im)mobility". He is also member of the scientific board of Délégation Interministérielle à la Lutte Contre le Racisme, l'Antisémitisme et la Haine anti-LGBT (DILCRAH). and CEE representative in the Board of Institut Convergences Migrations. He is co-editor of the peer-review Journal PArtecipazione e COnflitto. The Open Journal of Sociopolitical Studies. His empirical research has been organised around a main theoretical framework: a Weberian neo-structural sociology, not deterministic but attentive to structural contexts of opportunities at different scales, to explore the relation between social and spatial factors influencing forms of (Weberian) “community action”. Having been trained within a Weberian theoretical framework giving to the city a generative role structuring social, political and economic interactions, his research looks at community action, not as a form of solidarity but as a form of collective action not requiring a common identity. He took inspiration from the Weberian legacy to link structure and action, trying to develop what Italian scholars callled “studi di comunità”, so to say a comparative approach to allow a dialogue between urban, political and economic sociology, as in the main Italian sociological tradition of Pizzorno and Bagnasco, or the last book of the American sociologist Peter Blau. Their Weberian approach to (inter)action and urban structure is not at all irenic, de-historicized, or intrinsically optimist as in many contemporary theories of “opportunities”. This framework irrigates his three research projects: 1) Roma agency, integration and upward social mobility; 2) the political sociology of associations and NGOs in urban societies; 3) the impact of urban social and spatial structure on electoral behaviour.

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Research Topics

Structural contexts of integration opportunities ; Border control ; Tensions between endogenous and exogenous mechanisms of urban change ; Dissemination and legitimization mechanisms of racism ; The voluntary sector lobbying and political influence on large metropolis governments ; Roma and Sinti in European cities

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