Welfare from below: perspectives and contradictions among Roman squatters
Pietro Vereni (Università "Tor Vergata" Rome)
Paper short abstract:
The presentation aims at assessing the viability of squatting as a form of “welfare from below” among multi-ethnic squats in Rome. Institutions vs associations, “Italian revolutionaries” vs “foreign want-to-be bourgeois”: a double level of necessary formal/informal interaction on the Roman field.
Paper long abstract:
Rome has always had an enormous «housing issue» related to its inconsistent urban development, driven mostly by individual family needs (self-construction) and the private interest of developers. This condition has spurred since the 1960s a widespread movement of squatters, often organized along political lines. This paper tries to assess the feasibility of squatting as an alternative to state, market or family driven forms of housing welfare presenting Rome as a case study. A comparison between the original squatters from the 1960s and those currently organizing occupations is firstly presented to highlight structural differences. Using short ethnographic portraits, a second part of the paper sketches the ideology of the movement as an intentional attempt to produce new forms of sociality and urban life, while the third part reports the overall negative image of any kind of squatting by media and governmental politics. In the conclusive notes a basic contradiction of Roman squatting is given central attention. While the political leadership want to transcend the bourgeois forms of urban and family life, in order to achieve that aim they have to resort as their rank and file to Italian and foreign families that often highjack that goal to be included instead into an ordinary process of «family welfarization» of their emerging bourgeois housing needs
Emerging economic futures: the intersections of informality and formality [Anthropology of Economy Network]