Inhabiting Liminal Spaces: Informalities in Governance, Housing, and Economic Activity in Contemporary Italy (Contemporary Liminality) – di Isabella Clough Marinaro

Inhabiting_liminal_spacesdi Isabella Clough Marinaro
Routledge, 2022 – 232 pagine

This book draws together debates from two burgeoning fields, liminality and informality studies, to analyze how dynamics of rule-bending take shape in Rome today.

Adopting a multiscalar and transdisciplinary approach, it unpacks how gaps and contradictions in institutional rulemaking and application force many residents into protracted liminal states marked by intense vulnerability.

By merging a political economy lens with ethnographic research in informal housing, illegal moneylending, unauthorized street-vending and waste collection, the author shows that informalities are not marginal or anomalous conditions, but an integral element of the city’s governance logics. Multiple actors together construct the local cultural norms, conventions and moral economies through which rule-negotiation occurs. However, these practices are ultimately unable to reconfigure historically rooted power dynamics and hierarchies. In fact, they often aggravate weak urbanites’ difficulties in accessing rights and services.

A study that challenges assumptions that informalities are predominantly features of developing economies or limited to specific groups and sectors, this volume’s critical approach and innovative methodology will appeal to scholars of sociology and anthropology interested in social theory, urban studies and liminality.

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