JCU Hosts Presentation of Book Co-Edited by Prof. Clough Marinaro - "Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City"
On October 9, John Cabot University’s Department of Economics and Social Sciences in collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages and Literature, hosted the presentation of the new book Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, published by Indiana University Press. The event was moderated by Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro, co-editor of the book. The authors who took part in this event were Bjørn Thomassen, Pietro Vereni Alessandra Broccolini, Carlo Cellamare, Pierluigi Cervelli, Ferruccio Trabalzi, Simon Martin, and Pierpaolo Muddu.
Professor Clough Marinaro teaches courses in political and social science with a special focus on contemporary Italy.
After a brief introduction by Professor Clough Marinaro, Bjørn Thomassen opened the discussion arguing that Rome is a city in which multiple modernities compete and come together. It is a “global city” but globalization is playing out differently here than in many other Western cities, reflecting Rome’s uniqueness but also its importance for understanding how there can be many different forms of globalization.
Pietro Vereni explained the results of his study about a primary school in Torpignattara, a poor suburb of Rome, where the majority of pupils do not have Italian citizenship, arguing that this school was at the heart of a policy introduced nationally to cap the proportion of ‘foreign’ children allowed in classrooms. He also discussed issues related to doing ethnography in one’s own city, underlining the way his research and private life mix together in ways that defy compartmentalization and detachment.
Alessandra Broccolini, in her summary of her chapter on Bangladeshi and Italian residents of Torpignattara, recommended avoiding the stereotypes that are widely perpetuated about the suburbs because those parts of the city are places in which identity, concepts of heritage, and neighborhood regeneration emerge in complex ways.
Carlo Cellamare examined the territorial dimension of Rome due to its late development, claiming that it is becoming a polycentric city in which thousands of people live their professional and social lives around the ring-road and peripheral areas. Indeed, he affirmed that the number of people going to the growing number of malls on the outskirts of the city is much higher than those visiting the Colosseum every year.
In contrast, Pierluigi Cervelli argued that the the transformation of Rome is turning back, creating new hierarchies and inequalities between the center and the peripheries in terms of quality of life, transportation and criminality.
Ferruccio Trabalzi asserted that since the 1930s the poor have always been relocated from the center to the periphery irrespective of the political ideology of the city’s rulers, giving the example of Idroscalo, an illegal working-class settlement at the mouth of the Tiber river. He also talked about the growing use of urban gardening as a means to defend the city from further cementification and real-estate speculation.
Simon Martin explored the role of sports in the city, arguing that important parts of the urban fabric are the result of sporting mega-events and problematic urban planning and the political corruption connected to them.
Pierpaolo Muddu discussed the issue of housing in Rome, where thousands of people do not have a decent place to live due to inadequate public housing and a form of real-estate speculation which advances the interests and needs of high-income residents and groups. He also talked about grassroots housing movements and the role of ‘social centers’ in trying to redefine culture in the city.
At the end of the presentation the audience was invited to ask questions. Several lively discussions took place about the various issues raised in the book.