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Accepted Paper:

What place for the past in the city: new ritual enunciations in the "Old City" of Taranto  


Vincenzo Lo Re (Sapienza University of Rome)

Paper short abstract:

The historic town represents a space crossed by processes of abandonment and redevelopment. The concept of "place of memory" opens new scenarios for understanding the tensions between memory and storytelling practices, between performative actions of rediscovery and reuse of spaces.

Paper long abstract:

This contribution is the result of an ethnographic research about practices of reuse of abandoned spaces in the "Old City" of Taranto, a historical town characterized both by depopulation phenomena and by a long history of settlement and sedimentation of meanings and practices. The work argues on the relationship between the processes of urban regeneration and the experience that inhabitants and social groups reproduce in the narrative-action of the neighbourhood space. This report reveals an articulated tension that reflects on the one hand the need to find new solutions to the environmental crisis caused by the steel industry (ILVA - Arcelor Mittal), on the other from the possibility of rethinking the economy and management of urban spaces in a capitalization and new exploitation of a marginalized territory that today returns to being central. The relationship between memory and forgetfulness is a central question to understand what meanings and position the old city is taking, and through which practices we try to build new narratives and new reuse experiences. Memory, oblivion, narration become social practices, which the subjects perform in relation to history and the use of the past, in the configuration of a given urban space. The analysis focus on the performative practices of ritual enunciation that associations and groups of inhabitants achieve in the context of the old city. Material and immaterial elements are remembered and manipulated to express actions and planning, relocate the historical centrality of the neighbourhood, and produce transformative projects on the spaces.

Panel U08
Urban Experiments in Memory and Forgetting