Tales from Pianura : the construction of a social dump and its resisting community
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Through the lens of urban political ecology and environmental justice framework, this master thesis project investigates the history and creation of Pianura as the social dump of the city of Napoli, Italy and the grievances and forms of resistance that its citizens undertook, at the peak of a 20 years long waste crisis, when the top-down decision of re-opening the facility was envisioned. The neighbourhood is sited at the outskirts of the metropolis and is historically identified with a polluting landfill, illegal building and Camorra’s control. This thesis will explore how multiple actors and groups narrated, existed and resisted in Pianura's social milieu, each with their context-embedded memories, narratives and ideals of mobilization and justice. The crucial and focal experience through which the story is uncovered is the epiphany of the riot, as the resisting community's complex response to the manifest State-led violence of 2008, that came after years of structural, slow and discoursive violence. Through an in depth ethnographic action research project, the work explores the oral histories and narratives of those involved in the contestations against the reopening of the local landfill and the activists struggles to counter the silencing of the historical marginalization and construction of Pianura as a social dump. The thesis proposes that the construction of a subaltern resisting community and identity is discursively and materially constructed on that the very battlefield of the struggle through the re-examination and narration of the history. Moreover, the thesis will suggest why Pianura's subversive stories and toxic narratives should be framed within the larger and global network of environmental justice movements, specifically as subaltern environmentalism.