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Accepted Paper:

Italian alliances between commoning and law. Rules and regulations as political weapons: the Naples case  
Antonio Vesco (University of Catania) Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Aristotle University)

Paper short abstract:

Our paper focuses on the role played by law in the Italian “laboratory” of urban commons. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in three Italian cities between 2018 and 2020, we analyze the peculiar coalescence of pro-commons lawyers with local institutions and grassroots collectives in Naples.

Paper long abstract:

The “commons” have become a rallying point of social mobilization against privatizations and a linchpin of collective civic empowerment and democratic renewal in several countries. What singles the Italian “laboratory” of urban commons in recent years is the coalescence of pro-commons lawyers with activists, movements, and grassroots collectives.

Urban centers across the country have become the hub of diverse patterns of commoning around buildings, gardens, parks, culture, co-operatives, and so on. A plurality of processes in Italian cities grapple with the paramount strategic conundrums of alter-political commons: how to configure durable modes of collective organization which common leadership and self-government; and how to gain a grip on institutions to put them in the service of expansive commons. The Italian counter-hegemonic strategy for urban commoning must therefore be explored from the two vantage points of local governments and grassroots initiative. The latter converge with each other using legal devices based on private law and, alternatively, on public and constitutional law.

The central role played by law in the Italian commons network must be read in the light of the distinctive forms that regulations and rules assume in specific contexts. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in three Italian cities between 2018 and 2020, our paper focuses on the case of Naples and the reinvention of the legal tradition of “civic use”. Our account of the daily practices pursued by a Neapolitan community of commoners – L’Asilo – delves into a political and institutional context that has always been the subject of stigmatization.

Panel P019a
The everyday politics of the commons and social movements I
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -