A distanza di trent’anni dalla nascita di «Meridiana» abbiamo deciso di riunire le forze che, in questo periodo, hanno consentito alla rivista di continuare a vivere e a pubblicare studi e ricerche in un incontro intitolato Il Sud che vorremmo, che si è svolto a Napoli nel settembre 2018. Questo numero propone alcuni contributi presentati in questa occasione. Il convegno è stato un momento di confronto e di discussione intorno alla storia di «Meridiana» in rapporto a uno dei suoi principali campi di osservazione: il Mezzogiorno d’Italia. Molte sono state le domande che hanno ispirato l’iniziativa: qual è l’eredità della rivista? Quali le categorie interpretative che possiamo considerare ancora valide e quali, al contrario, quelle obsolete? Quali le prospettive di ricerca future? Ha ancora senso studiare il Sud d’Italia? E se sì, da quali punti di osservazione e con quali chiavi di lettura? Tutti i contributi sembrano convergere nel riconoscere il valore della proposta «decostruzionista» della rivista, e cioè della presa in considerazione del Mezzogiorno come realtà plurale e fortemente differenziata al proprio interno, come uno spazio di analisi intorno al quale è possibile sperimentare metodologie e strumenti interpretativi fondati sul rifiuto di visioni univoche e sulla critica all’uso rigido delle categorie analitiche. Proprio attraverso la prospettiva decostruzionista «Meridiana» ha voluto raccontare il Mezzogiorno andando oltre il «divario», oltre il «dualismo». Questo è stato il filo rosso che ha unito le diverse fasi che la rivista ha vissuto, l’elemento che ne ha rappresentato la continuità. Nel corso del tempo, «Meridiana» non è però rimasta uguale a se stessa. Le modalità analitiche e i campi di ricerca e di riflessione sono cambiati con il mutare del dibattito pubblico e del contesto politico, degli approcci scientifici e delle realtà storiche, della dimensione internazionale e del sopraggiungere di nuove problematiche sociali, pur rimanendo coerente con il quadro concettuale e valoriale delle origini. I contributi contenuti in questo fascicolo offrono alcune indicazioni anche per il futuro: dall’urgenza di studiare le diseguaglianze interne che si sono fortemente accentuate nel corso del nuovo secolo all’esigenza di analizzare il Mezzogiorno collocandolo in una dimensione globale in grado di cogliere le connessioni con mondi lontani, dallo sforzo di sperimentare la categoria di sviluppo e di modernizzazione andando oltre il mero approccio economicista all’importanza di svelare gli stereotipi e i luoghi comuni che ne alterano l’immagine pubblica. Non c’è dubbio infatti che un aspetto cruciale del Mezzogiorno riguarda la sua rappresentazione. Qualunque intervento, qualunque politica sarà vana se non si fa luce su questo aspetto. Il Mezzogiorno ha bisogno di conoscenza. La riflessione collettiva presente in questo volume di «Meridiana» sembra condividere l’idea che il Sud che vorremmo è questo: un Sud che conosce se stesso e che sia riconosciuto dagli altri per ciò che è realmente. Ampio è lo spettro dei temi affrontati: da una riflessione complessiva sul percorso culturale di Meridiana negli scorsi trent’anni al rapporto tra saperi esperti e democrazia, dalle interdipendenze tra Nord e Sud nella storia d’Italia alla dimensione internazionale del «meridionalismo», dalle trasformazioni delle regioni meridionali nel corso del ventunesimo secolo alle condizioni non economiche dello sviluppo, dalla posizione del Mezzogiorno in rapporto alla nuova geografia economica europea alle diseguaglianze pubbliche e private, dal ruolo delle istituzioni a quello della politica e delle politiche.
L’argine di «Meridiana»: oltre il divario, oltre gli stereotipi
This issue of «Meridiana» reflects the debate done during the congress settled in Naples (27-29 of September 2018) for the celebration of its thirtieth anniversary. Explaining the published articles in this issue, the introduction analyzes the history of «Meridiana» from the origin to the present and deals with the evolution of the way by which the journal studied its main topic: the South of Italy. The author tries to answer to some questions emerged during the congress. Which is the inheritance of the journal? Which interpretative categories can considered valid yet and which obsolete? Which are the future perspective for the study of the South? Does the study of the Italian South make sense today? Nevertheless, fundamental historical changes during the last decades modified the scientific interests of the journal. The critical approach and analytical method founded on the deconstruction of the general and stereotypical category «Mezzogiorno», or «South» as a whole, remains one of the most important and valid today conquest of «Meridiana».
Keywords: «Meridiana»; South of Italy; Thirtieth Anniversary; Scientific Inheritance.
The original intention when the review «Meridiana» was first established, was to bring together diverse areas of research with a focus on the South of Italy, but from a more critical perspective than the «traditional» approaches adopted when dealing with the question of Italy’s South, with the specific intention of going beyond the existing dualistic views of the country’s development. This implied seeing the South not as a separate field of study, as if it were a subject with its own character requiring a separate approach. The objective of the new review, on the contrary, was to study the South of Italy, complete with all its own specific characteristics, as a «normal» part of the world like any other. To launch this project, a substantial, heterogeneous group of scholars from a variety of different fields – historians, economists, sociologists, anthropologists and scientists – were brought together. The article reconstructs the «road» taken by «Meridiana» over the course of its thirty-year existence, offering a brief overview of the number of authors and articles published, of the fields of study of such authors, and of the subject areas dealt with in their articles. At the same time, it aims to illustrate the aspects of continuity and change witnessed during the period in question.
Keywords: «Meridiana»; The South of Italy; History and Social Science.
The essay deals with the first years of «Meridiana» in the context of the crisis of the Italian political system: a particular version of the crises of the systems of political regulation of the center and north Europe emerged during the «glorious thirty». The interpretative stance of «Meridiana» on the South of Italy – the refusal of the traditional vision of the «southern question» as concerning a uniformly «backward» area – and the inclination to link academic styles of analysis with proposals to be discussed in the political arena, presupposed the existence of an «Italian question». The Italian political model was considered inadequate, and therefore tending to inefficiencies and corruption, because the State apparatus and the expert knowledge to be used in the decisional process did not functioned as a «third» space shielded from partisan conflicts and negotiations, but was occupied by the political parties. Practising expert knowledge in forms inclined to the civic engagement and, at the same time, refusing the heavy ideological stance typical of the «organic» intellectuals, «Meridiana» would shed light to the complexity of Mezzogiorno and, at the same time, elaborate schemes of State interventions capable of improving and modernizing it. The obsolescence of the interpretations of the western history as a teleological modernization process, and the crisis of the European political systems that had used the expert knowledge in a «constitutional» role, determined the transformation of «Meridiana» in a typical – if interdisciplinary – academic journal.
Keywords: Expertise; the Glorious Thirty; Democracy of the parties; Southern question.
Non c’è Sud senza Nord
Southern Italy is a place among many others. This is «Meridiana»’s fundamental contribution to renewing studies on it. At the same time for «Meridiana» the South is an extremely differentiated space. This article is willing to argue that the destiny of Southern Italy is closely connected to the destiny of other regions of Italy. The South is as we know it not because of its supposed intrinsic cultural backwardness, inherited from its history. It is what it is for the ways in which it met, after the unification, the other Italian regions, to which happened the same thing: they are what they are because they met the South and because of the way they met it. It is not a proper job for social scientists to go hunting for vices and virtues. Their job is to describe it and to try to explain its state within a web of interdependencies once with other parts of the country and nowadays global.
Keywords: Mezzogiorno; Italy; Ruling classes.
The main thesis of this paper is that the prevailing interpretations of the development issues in the Italian Mezzogiorno pay too little attention to economic inequality not with the Centre-North of the country, but within the area which, on the contrary, it is an important phenomenon both in itself and for its several implications. The paper is organized as follows: it starts with the presentation of the main data on income and wealth inequality in the Mezzogiorno; in the following section, it recalls the possible channels through which inequality can influence economic and social development focusing, in particular, on its impact on the quality of institutions; then it suggests why inequality within the South can make for the persistence of an extractive society based mainly on the appropriation of rents while hampering the emergence of an inclusive dynamic society. Finally, the paper indicates a set of policies, which can foster the development of the Mezzogiorno by tackling internal economic inequalities.
Keywords: Economic Inequality, Mezzogiorno, Institutions, Rents.
I «meridionalisti» da scienziati sociali a esperti
The essay proposes a study of the «meridionalista» without political-ideological conditioning. Today, thanks also to new one research, it is becoming clear that many of them operated in a global dimension, even though most came from a European or American tradition. This is evident for men like Pasquale Villari, in contact with John Stuart Mill and Jessie White Mario, Francesco Saverio Nitti, in contact with Gustav Schmoller and Beatrice Potter Webb, Pasquale Saraceno, in contact with Jan Timbergen and Paul Rosennstein-Rodan. The «meridionalista», generally, must be understood in the context of the transformation of the state. From a non-interventionist state we have passed to a regulatory state, a state that aims at creating autonomous bodies with respect to ordinary administration, basing their autonomy on competence and technicians. Now, the «meridionalista» in a first phase participated in this global discussion and thought of the South as a case among others in Europe and in the world to propose the type of state intervention. Subsequently, and especially after the transformations of the state itself, the «meridionalista» became the strategic expert in the functions of parallel institutions.
Keywords: Global History, «Meridionalisti», State, South of Italy.
One hundred and fifty years after the Unification, the low economic performance of Southern Italy and its weakness in terms of social fabric remain one of the biggest issue for the country. Several scholars have been attempting to explain the so-called North-South divide and its persistence by taking into account economic factors: i.e., the lack of investments and of infrastructures, the ineffectiveness of public policies in terms of growing of both income and occupation rate. By contrast, this paper aims to focus on the actual causes of public inequalities (i.e. territorial differences in terms of institutional efficiency, and of public services), rather on the causes of private inequalities (i.e. income and wealth gap between Northern and Southern Italy). According to this perspective, the main aim of the paper is to lay out an analytical framework underlying institutional formal and informal features that made Southern Italy fall down into a vicious circle. Consistently, we claim that a peculiar condition of public poverty widespread in Southern Italy has largely produced external tangible and not tangible diseconomies, which hinder economic productive investments, whereby legitimating particularistic exchanges between citizens and political actors. In this regard, it is essential to underline how collective goods and several fundamental public services – such as well-supported school system – are needed in order to enhance social and economic wellbeing. Furthermore, collective goods help establishing strong institutional environments.
Keywords: Italian Mezzogiorno; Social Inequalities; Collective goods; Economic developme.
Qualche riflessione sulla nuova geografia economica europea
The paper deals with the changes that occurred in the XXI century in the political, economic and demographic conditions in the advanced countries, with particular reference to Europe, and that influenced economic geography and urban and regional disparities. After sketching those changes, the paper tries to state their influence on the location of economic activities. Then it describes the transformation of the European economic geography in the XXI century, following the enlargement of the EU and the economic crisis. Main findings are that while disparities among nations decreased, disparities within the Member States increased; there is a growing polarization between more and less advanced regions and between cities and rural areas. Regional development policies are, therefore, needed to avoid further divides.
Keywords: Europe; Regions; Disparit.
Eccezionalismo italiano ed eccezionalismo meridionale
This short paper is about the strange parallelism of two distinct discourses: one that describes the Italians face to the North-western civilization, and the other that represents the southern Italians in comparison to the northern ones. In spite to several differences, these two discourses participate of a same basilar grammar, one that defines what in a society is good and what is bad, what is normal and what it is not. In this sense, the label of familismo (very used to mark the negative specificity of southern Italian society) corresponds to particolarismo for the Italian society as a whole; and the tendency condemned as gattopardismo, (a sort of regrettable tendency to change political allegiance) is for the Mezzogiorno what is trasformismo for the Italian society. These are some of the labels used in the public sphere to define the culture and the character of the meridionale on one side and of the Italian on the other side. Two sides that appears to be more intertwined that once was believed.
Keywords: Southern question; National character; Cultural representations; Stereotypes.
This paper contends that the political and media narratives regarding contemporary migratory flows fail to provide their audiences with an historical perspective on the matter. In such form, the debate has been reduced to a mere dialectical confrontation between those showing solidarity and those supporting a securitization approach towards asylum seekers and migration policies in general. Through an analysis that critically reflects on the concepts of imperialism and racial capitalism, which are declined in the context of the so-called neoliberal globalization, the author intends to demonstrate that the flows from Africa to Europe are to be interpreted as physiological movements from the «periphery» to the «center» within a system of unequal relations set up by different state and non-state actors. Contemporary migrations should not be conceptualized as external issues to the Europe and the West, but rather as a structural dynamic that finds its roots in the very functioning of international capitalism.
Keywords: Migration; Africa; Globalization; Neoliberalism.
Homeschooling. Appunti su una pratica educativa al confine tra comunitarismo e individualismo libertarian
Giovanni Damele, Paolo Di Motoli
Homeschooling or parental schooling is a new phenomenon in Italy, while it is well established and numerically present in Anglophone countries. With this practice, education takes place within the family, even where it is considered the prerogative of the State and institutions recognized by public agencies. In other words, those who practice homeschooling remove themselves from a «public» context in favor of an individualized education. In short, this practice seems to suggest a sort of contrast between respect for individual particularities, on the one hand, and the group (society) with its potential but also with the risks of restricting individual liberties. Parents who put this type of education into practice for their children primarily refer to the principle of freedom of choice. The cultural strands that give rise to this option are different. At times, the insistence on individual choice on the part of the parents and the learner presents characteristics typical of libertarian thought, understood as a radical interpretation of liberal individualism, which can lead to anarchist outcomes. However, even in this field, the apparently paradoxical outcome of an individualist choice can be a communitarian-type solution, whose potential for limiting the freedom of choice and development of the individual may be even greater than in the case of public education.
Keywords: Homeschooling; Unschooling; Individualism; Minimal State.
With the interview to John McNeill, «Meridiana» series «Percorsi di ricerca» faces the world of environmental historians. McNeill is part of the generation of American researchers, which founded environmental history between seventies and eighties of the last century. However his profile of historian differs from the others because he practiced environmental history in a global dimension and in a transdisciplinary way. In the interview, he talks about many topics: his scientific background and youth studies, the passion for the French historiography, his European research in the Mediterranean countries, the difficult relationship between environmental history and the politics, his concept of history, the growing interest of students for the history of climate and biodiversity.
Keywords: Environmental History; United States; Autobiography.