Without the generosity, openness, and support of many people in both Italy and London, this project would not have been possible. I regret that I cannot name them all. I am deeply indebted to staff members and regular clients at the advice center who shared their stories with me and tolerated my endless questions. Outside of the center I am very grateful to Manuela Alfieri, Chiara Candini, Angela Giancristofaro, and Claudio Negri for welcoming me into their lives and sharing them with me. Thank you also to Ledia Andoni and Valmir Dibra.
The project on which this book is based was funded by a U.K. Economic and Social Research Council Studentship, and by further research studentships from the Newby Trust and the London School of Economics. I am very grateful for this generous assistance. Sections of revised material in this book appeared in articles published in Focaal and Critique of Anthropology.
At the London School of Economics (LSE) I am indebted to many people. I am extraordinarily grateful to my supervisors, Deborah James and Mathijs Pelkmans. I thank Deborah not only for her meticulous attention to my chapters (and patience with my writing), but for always pushing me in the direction I want to go and helping me get there. Mathijs supported this project since its beginning, and I am grateful for his challenging advice, which both guided and inspired me throughout. I also thank the conveners and participants in the LSE writing seminars 2011–13. Thanks to my current colleagues on the Ethnography of Advice team for their useful comments during our book writing workshop.
The feedback of many friends and colleagues both at LSE and beyond was invaluable at various stages of this book’s development. I am grateful to Tony Good and Ralph Grillo for their detailed and insightful comments. Thank you to Rita Astuti, Laura Bear, Max Bolt, Ryan Davey, Matthew Engelke, Ana Gutierrez Garza, Insa Koch, Giulia Liberatore, Bruno Riccio, and Alpa Shah. I also wish to thank Adam Kuper for his encouraging and useful comments. The book’s peer reviewers provided highly valuable, detailed, and thoughtful feedback.
Warm thanks to Stanford University Press. I am very grateful to Michelle Lipinski for her enthusiasm and support and to others at the press for their help in finalizing the manuscript.
My family has been tremendously supportive. I am deeply indebted to my parents, Lesley, David, and Paola, for their constant support and encouragement over the years. Matt Wilde was an enormous influence on this book. His enthusiasm, interest, patience, and care kept me going during my hardest and most frustrating moments. I am deeply grateful not only for his tireless proofreading, but also for his support in helping me to develop and articulate my ideas. Thank you also to our son Gwyn for his patience with my one-armed breastfeeding while I put the finishing touches on the manuscript in the first weeks of his life.
Last, I thank my second family in Italy: Anna, Mohamed, and Ibrahim. Anna profoundly influenced this book and is an inspiration to me.