Francesca Morra

Francesca Morra



Thesis title: Experiencing the state: An ethnography of the Italian asylum system

Start year: 2015


Research topic

My research deals with the unintended consequences of European asylum process on lives of migrant women, engaging with the “intimate spaces of state power”. In other words, I am asking how and to what extent asylum policies and bureaucracies affect the mental health of women who experience this migration pathway. Drawing on an ethnographic case-study of the Italian asylum system, my research applies a gendered perspective to the analysis of the interactions between forced migrations, projects of citizenship and individual life stories. The primary aim of the investigation is to explore how (trans)national migration policies and intervention are experienced by refugee women, thus considering the relation between psychic life, migratory pathways and categories of citizenship.

My research is funded by a University 150th Anniversary Research Studentship.


Refugees; projects of citizenship; mental health


Conference papers

  • Experiencing exception: Embodying citizenship in the Italian asylum system presented at: DSS/Law Annual research student symposium, June 2015 (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Lifeworlds in crisis. Ethnographic dialogues around mental distress presented at: Ethnographies and Health workshop, October 2015 (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Academic and professional training

  • BA Inter-cultural communication, University of Turin (Italy)
  • MSc Psychology, University of Turin (Italy)
  • I am a registered clinical psychologist of the Italian Association of Psychologists, and I am currently following a training in psychotherapy at the Institute of Constructivist Psychology (Padua, Italy)