Anch’io sono del centro storico, ma il tuo è un atteggiamento sbagliato! Il patrimonio disastrato e le contese per lo spazio urbano/I am from the Old town too, but your attitude is wrong! The devastated heritage and the disputes over urban space

Nick Dines


This article considers the contested nature of cultural heritage and public memory in two historic centres in the Italian Mezzogiorno following the damage and disruption wrought by two separate earthquakes. Through ethnographic vignettes, it reflects upon how the underlying differences and tensions that are constitutive of the politics of heritage and memory become exposed in the event of a disaster. Drawing on the idea of strategic essentialism famously developed by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, it is argued that if cultural heritage is to be effectively mobilized to counter undesirable reconstruction programmes or to resist the threat of speculation and evictions in historic centres, attention needs to be continually paid to its conceptual limits and internal differences otherwise it risks becoming just another instrument of discrimination.


Cultural Heritage, Contested Historic Centres, Earthquakes, Strategic Essentialism

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Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Napoli n. 37 del 05/07/2012