The present article discusses methods and theoretical problems in the research on areas at industrial risk, using examples and problems deriving from studies conducted in Sicily, as well as the review of a number of contemporary studies. The author argues that much of the contemporary research on areas at risk focuses on the ‘elites’ (environmental movements, boards of citizens, and the like) rather than on populations, and does not reflect on the general ambivalence of the inhabitants. This tendency is also related to the frequent lack of historical analyses on the milieus hosting industrial plants, and the rhetoric employed by authorities and charismatic leaders in order to convince the populations to accept the industries into their territories. The author also reflects on the concept of space and notices that many studies focus mostly on the process of production of slums, neglecting the role of the industrial villages in the creation of perceptions and attitudes towards industry. In a similar manner, the state of local economies is often ignored in many analyses, so that considerations on the possibilities for alternative models of development are not provided. Yet, in spite of the fact that the current debate on risk is characterized by critical approaches, a number of studies appear to be implicitly conservative and cooperative with regard to state and capital and do not adequately reflect on the role of power in determining narratives and behaviors in areas at risk.

History, space, and power: theoretical and methodological problems in the research on areas at (industrial) risk

SAITTA, Pietro
2012

Abstract

The present article discusses methods and theoretical problems in the research on areas at industrial risk, using examples and problems deriving from studies conducted in Sicily, as well as the review of a number of contemporary studies. The author argues that much of the contemporary research on areas at risk focuses on the ‘elites’ (environmental movements, boards of citizens, and the like) rather than on populations, and does not reflect on the general ambivalence of the inhabitants. This tendency is also related to the frequent lack of historical analyses on the milieus hosting industrial plants, and the rhetoric employed by authorities and charismatic leaders in order to convince the populations to accept the industries into their territories. The author also reflects on the concept of space and notices that many studies focus mostly on the process of production of slums, neglecting the role of the industrial villages in the creation of perceptions and attitudes towards industry. In a similar manner, the state of local economies is often ignored in many analyses, so that considerations on the possibilities for alternative models of development are not provided. Yet, in spite of the fact that the current debate on risk is characterized by critical approaches, a number of studies appear to be implicitly conservative and cooperative with regard to state and capital and do not adequately reflect on the role of power in determining narratives and behaviors in areas at risk.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/1910216
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