Vol. 8 (2020): Democracy of places: actions and forms of community self-government
In the background

Autorganizzazioni urbane: Capacità di futuro e ‘politica significante’

Carlo Cellamare
"Sapienza" University of Rome, Department of Civil, constructional and environmental engineering

Published 2020-12-12


  • self-organization,
  • city,
  • politics,
  • outskirts,
  • re-appropriation of places

How to Cite

Cellamare, C. (2020). Autorganizzazioni urbane: Capacità di futuro e ‘politica significante’. Scienze Del Territorio, 8. https://doi.org/10.13128/sdt-11923


In Rome, we have a wide diffusion of self-organization experiences, not only related to squatting for housing purposes. Self-organization practices and processes are widespread in the cities, not only in Rome, but also in the rest of Italy and abroad. The forms of self-organization certainly reveal a great potential. First, they express a social ‘protagonism’ that involves important social organization skills. Secondly, they allow building social fabric and symbolic values. They also carry out a service ‘for’ and ‘in’ territories and represent today one of the few ways to reconstruct democratic conditions within a historical phase of crisis of democracy. Thus, they are actually today the places where political culture is being produced. Such politics could be defined as ‘signifying’ because it is able to express the emerging meanings pertinent to the social conditions of everyday life, that “magma of emerging social meanings” that Castoriadis (1975) associates with the “establishing society”. The contribution, referring to the extensive on-field research in the Roman context, aims at a broader general reflection, highlighting the criticalities emerging in urban contexts more strongly exposed to the pressure of extractive capitalism and the welfare state retreat, the difficulties and ambiguities with respect to the formation of alleged ‘urban communities’, the real conditions for constructing alternative policies and new actorship, re-signification processes and a “signifying politics”.


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