Conflict, Negotiation and Housing Policy Arena: An Italian Case Study

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Tommaso FRANGIONI, Piccolo Opificio Sociologico, Italy
The aim of this ethnographic research is to study the housing policy arena of Firenze. The city is known worldwide for its touristic facade of Renaissance palaces, streets and museums; but under this surface, a tense and conflictive social field of fights for the right to housing is sprawling.

I have focused on the interactions between the local SMO Movimento Lotta per la Casa (“Fight for the Housing Movement”) and local governance regime. I have used the concepts of governance and urban regime (Stone 1989) because of a relatively high degree of internal cohesion in this policy arena, which, in turn, is embedded in an articulated territorial government structure.

This policy arena is built on a vast array of subjects: the examined Movement, tenants’ organizations, the net of squatted social centres and movements, three levels of public administration, quangos managing the social housing, other state agencies (owning some squatted buildings), and social workers. Are important actors also, on a general level, local media and police forces. I relied upon different techniques: direct observation and participation in the life of the Movement, non-directive interviews with key actors, observation of policing in rallies and evictions, and analysis of the textual and normative production of the main actors.

The relation between the Movement and public bodies is multifaceted: while the neoliberal “Word” is preaching an urban participative approach to decision making, grassroots participation is actively organized and produced in places as squatted houses, generating a challenge that institutions are not capable and/or willing to accept. At the same time, this Movement follows a path of adaptive communication with institutions: this approach is framed from the necessity to address the very material issue of giving a house to those who are excluded from accessing both market housing and social housing.