Questo numero di «Meridiana» si concentra sui regimi punitivi, ossia sull’insieme di pratiche, norme e istituzioni che prendono parte al processo di definizione, costruzione e repressione dei comportamenti «devianti». Anziché trattare separatamente delle singole modalità punitive – ad esempio la carcerazione, la deportazione penale o la pena capitale – questo approccio più ampio permette di interrogarsi sulla loro coesistenza, sulla loro selettiva applicazione a vari gruppi della popolazione e a territori distinti, e sulle trasformazioni che queste configurazioni punitive hanno subito nel corso degli ultimi due secoli. In particolare, si torna qui in modo critico sulla questione della «nascita della prigione», si amplia lo sguardo a forme punitive quali i bagni penali e le colonie agricole per minori e si affronta il nodo della periodizzazione di questa storia allargata della penalità. La volontà di seguire le trasformazioni dei regimi punitivi lungo l’arco temporale che dall’inizio del XIX secolo arriva al presente è anche all’origine del carattere transdisciplinare di questo numero, che si pone come terreno di incontro (ma non sempre di accordo) tra storici e sociologi.
Ci si misura qui principalmente con il contesto italiano, guardando in modo simultaneo al periodo preunitario e unitario, con l’obiettivo di superare tradizionali divisioni disciplinari e sottolineando le possibilità aperte da una prospettiva di più lungo periodo. Allo stesso tempo, si intende suggerire l’intreccio tra le ricerche qui presentate e i dibattiti che nel corso degli ultimi decenni hanno agitato le acque della storiografia e delle scienze sociali sulla pena a livello internazionale.
Se alcuni dei contributi si concentrano sulla ricognizione di studi e di fonti (in particolare, quello di Gibson sulle statistiche e i manufatti e quello di Vianello sulla sociologia critica della pena), altri saggi analizzano specifici contesti storici nel comune obiettivo di sottolineare la coesistenza di regimi punitivi e la loro connessione con i circuiti internazionali del «penitenziarismo» affermatosi alla fine del XVIII secolo (soprattutto i saggi di Maugué e Saggiorato sul periodo napoleonico, di Sarzotti sulla Francia della monarchia di Luglio e di Di Pasquale sulla Sicilia postunitaria). Da qui emergono risultati stimolanti attraverso cui rilanciare il carattere emblematico del caso italiano, nelle sue contiguità con quello francese, attraverso il quale si configura un «trionfo» tutt’altro che lineare del carcere che pure entrò prepotentemente in scena nelle codificazioni penali e nel discorso pubblico dall’età napoleonica in avanti.
L’attenzione rivolta alla pluralità dei regimi puntivi e alla poligenesi del nesso correzione/punizione consente dunque di scardinare l’idea di una linearità penale culminata in unica forma di modernità carceraria storicamente e geograficamente situata nella più progredita parte nord-occidentale del mondo, poi diffusasi nei suoi prolungamenti coloniali ed oltre. Viceversa la complessità delle «culture carcerarie» – illuminismo giuridico, cristianesimo utilitarista, nuove istanze della filantropia laica, ma anche la riformulazione della tradizione assistenziale cattolica nel mutato contesto punitivo – fu decisiva nel determinare la svolta penitenziaria ottocentesca nella sua capacità di incamerare forme di pena variegate e di lungo corso che continuarono ad operare dentro e fuori le mura delle prigioni.
Pluralità dei regimi punitivi: periodizzazioni, circolazioni, modelli cattolici
Chiara Lucrezio Monticelli, Christian G. De Vito
The introduction starts with a definition of punitive regimes as the bundle of practices, norms and institutions which are imbricated in the making and repression of «deviance». From this perspective, it focuses on two issues: the periodization of an expanded history of penality and the contextualization of the Italian case in the transition of the nineteenth century. Thus, we return to the question of the «birth of the prison» and overview the recent findings of transdisciplinary debates and the Italian scholarship. What emerges is a plurality of punitive regimes and the polygenesis of the correction/punishment link. The introduction questions the idea of a linear evolution in punishment, which allegedly culminated in a single form of carceral modernity, situated historically and geographically in the developed north-west region of the world and subsequently disseminated in its colonial possessions, and beyond. Conversely, we view the Catholic matrix as working within complex «carceral cultures» and the nineteenth-century penitentiary turn as flowing from the absorption of multifaceted and long-term penalities into the prison.
Keywords: Punitive regimes; Prison; Italian case; Catholic matrix.
This essay examines examples of two types of alternative sources for reconstructing the lives of prison inmates: official statistics and artifacts of prison culture. Prison statistics, collected by the state and published in yearly volumes, offer a detailed social portrait of inmates and the organization of everyday life. Artifacts of prison culture were collected by criminal anthropologists, most notably Cesare Lombroso, and offer glimpses into inmate mentality through their graffiti, art, and tattoos. Both types of primary sources deserve further study by historians seeking to reconstruct the world and experiences of Italian prisoners who, between unification and World War I, were mostly illiterate and therefore unable to leave memoirs, autobiographies, and letters.
Keywords: Prison; Italy; Lombroso; Prisoner art; Prison statistics; Gender; Historical sources.
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, deprivation of liberty becomes the main common law penalty, but the majority of prisons fail to meet the most basic requirements of the new prison system (classification of prisoners, health, prison labor). As a response to this situation, the consular government encourages the creation of large penal institutions – the maisons centrales de detention – where prisoners from several departments are centralized, and their work is managed by private contractors. The prefect of the Hautes Alpes took this program into his own hands, setting up a prison factory in 1804 in the former Jesuit seminary of Embrun. Industry, hygiene, public order, sedentarization of floating populations: France’s first maison centrale was intended to remedy the social ills of the department. However, the pioneering establishment was confronted with countless difficulties that bore the seeds of the excesses of the contemporary penitentiary system. Thus, despite its purpose, Embrun remains in practice a hybrid place – between a depot for beggars, a general hospital, a correctional home and a political prison – that the public authorities use to neutralize individuals likely to threaten social stability. Economic, carceral or security rationality: the penal manufacture is thus traversed by contradictory logics that reveal all the difficulties inherent in the specialization of places of confinement at the beginning of the 19th century.
Keywords: Maison centrale de détention; Penal manufacture; Embrun; Empire.
This essay aims to shed light on the close correlation between the identification procedures, the measures of arrest and administrative detention of individuals without passports, and the massive presence of seasonal workers within the prison spaces in Napoleonic Tuscany. Furthermore, it demonstrates how the study of the migratory phenomenon can serve as a prism to analyse multiple aspects related to social control, including the impact on the prison model coming from revolutionary France. The examination of the negotiation practices of release, as well as of the police measures of expulsion, reveals the limits of the administrative confinement of the migrant population in the overcrowded Tuscan prisons of the early Nineteenth-century. Finally, in the muddled division between «honest» and «industrious» workers, and suspicious travellers whose identity could not be verified, an insurmountable contradiction emerges in relation to the indiscriminate use of preventive measures against vagrants, refractory conscripts, and deserters.
Keywords: Mobile populations; Napoleonic police; Prison system; Administrative measures.
In 1862, Luigi Castelli, abbot of San Martino delle Scale, Palermo, founded a «rural school for reforming idle and abandoned boys», set within the vast expanses of the Benedictine monastery’s lands. Just a year later, the Ministry of the Interior came to an agreement with the monastic administration for the establishment of an agricultural colony for juvenile ‘deviants’. At the time, minors affected by laws against «idleness and vagrancy» and juvenile delinquency could be sent to a penal labour camp of this kind. Following the agreement with the Ministry, Luigi Castelli continued as the colony’s director. This paper analyses the history of the agricultural colony for minors in San Martino delle Scale from the Italian Unification to 1888, with a particular focus on the debate surrounding juvenile «deviance», the projects for «reforming» minors and the monastery’s own implementation of these projects. In the new Savoy state, public security issues lay at the center of a heated debate that brought together tensions at home and abroad. Juvenile deviance was considered one of the most serious social plagues, raising alarm throughout different parts of public opinion. As with all aspects of the penal system, the issue of state intervention for the correction of «deviants» was part and parcel of a broader concern for constructing the nation’s body, with what it meant to be «Italian» and therefore with the nation’s internal borders. As a matter of fact, the process of reforming «misdirected» youths was composed of their «moral» education and compulsory labour.
Keywords: Penal colonies; Deviance; Minors; Nation-building.
Differently from Ancien Régime, the advent of the modern disciplinary prison has made punishment an experience not directly known by general public. The carceral image replaced the direct vision of the punishment. Starting from this assumption, the essay analyzes texts, and especially iconography, of the illustrated volume Les Bagnes, Histoire, types, mœurs, mystères, published in 1845 by Maurice Alhoy. Alhoy, journalist and writer, conducted an on-the-field investigation, describing to the French public the last penal colonies (les bagnes) closed to being erased by the modern instruments of punishment. However his portray of the «ancient» penal colonies is already strongly influenced by the new model of the disciplinary prison coming from the United States.
Keywords: Penal colonies; Penitentiary iconography; History; French.
Sociologia e critica della pena detentiva
Starting from the reconstruction of the debate that began at the turn of the last century, the essay reconstructs the main sociological interpretations of the mass incarceration processes that have affected the United States and the main European countries in recent decades. The essay highlights the need to take the prison out of the technical domain of criminology and criminal politics, and to place it at the center of political sociology and civic action. Moreover, it suggests the relevance of qualitative research in prison, when placed within a critical analysis of the political context and social structure in which the prison is immersed.
Keywords: Prison sociology; Mass incarceration.
Italy has always paid attention to the Mediterranean area and, especially by the mid-1950s, began to develop a new, more assertive Mediterranean policy which was based on Italy’s support for the decolonization process and on its willingness to become a bridge between Europe and the southern shore of the Mediterranean, as well as between Europe and the Middle East. This was the starting point of future Italian attitudes towards this area: especially after the 1973 oil shock, in fact, Italy could not neglect the Mediterranean dimension of its foreign policy. This was in spite of the fact that the 1970s was a period of internal turmoil, political instability and economic crisis in the country. By the early 1980s, however, Italy was able to overcome its domestic plight and renewed the aspiration to play a leading role on the international scene. The purpose of this paper is to analyze Italian Mediterranean policy in the early 1980s through the documents held in the National Archives in London and in the Quai d’Orsay Archives. In fact, both countries paid a lot of attention to the evolution of Italian interests towards the Mediterranean; this in the framework of the international events that characterized the period under consideration. The aim is to shed more light on a crucial decade of both Italian and international history that has only recently been placed at the center of attention of Italian historiography, trying to understand the true significance of Rome’s Mediterranean policy of the period.
Keywords: Italian Mediterranean policy; Craxi; Andreotti.
Raccontare la mafia. Mauro De Mauro in redazione
The journalist Mauro De Mauro was kidnapped and murdered by the Mafia in 1970. Since then, the debate on his figure has focused on the many mysteries of its death, privileging a conspiracy dimension. Instead, this article analyzes his work at the Palermo-based newspaper «L’Ora» since his arrival in 1959, with particular reference to his interest in the Mafia. De Mauro particularly investigated the deep dimension of the Mafia organization, bringing to light its territorial structure, codes, initiation rites. Also, he wrote about the relationships between the Sicilian Mafia and the Italian-American Mafia and the urban-side of the phenomenon, generally under-reported compared to its agrarian component. The contribution interweaves De Mauro’s preparatory materials (archival papers, private correspondence, notes taken from confidential sources) with what he published, to highlight the theme of news-reporting about Mafia in a context in which the Mafia’s existence was still denied. The Mafia emerges from this point of view as a complex construction, lying between underground and public communication, between underworld and upperworld.
Keywords: Journalism; «L’Ora»; Mauro De Mauro; Mafia.
Socialmente utili. Antropologia del lavoro e non lavoro in una città del Mezzogiorno
Antonio Maria Pusceddu
The Socially Useful Jobs (LSU) were the first important Italian experiment in active labor policies. This article examines the categories of work and non-work through the ethnographic analysis of the trajectories of socially useful workers in Brindisi. The analysis shows how their trajectory has been characterized by the interaction of processes of regulation and informalization. The LSUs were an important experiment in differentiating work within a regulatory framework defined by the notion of public utility. Often assessed as an assistentialist measure, the LSUs have recently been evoked in the discussion of new workfare measures such as the Reddito di Cittadinanza. The article suggests that the analysis of LSU in their actual implementation can provide important critical insights to approach current conditional income measures and, more broadly, the social implications of the relationships between unemployment and public utility in relation to the work-income nexus.
Keywords: Work; Income; Unemployment; Public utility.
Arene emozionali? Giustizia e pubblico all’indomani dell’Unità
Mark Seymour’s book, Emotional arenas, dedicated to a court case in Rome in 1879 proposes a method of analysis of the emotional universe as a new explanatory key to collective behavior. They are based on a micro-historical investigation aimed at sounding out subjective emotional participation. The review, on the other hand, proposes to look at the communicative contexts – at the time mainly the press – that organize common sense. Emotions are not only had, but above all given.
Keywords: Emotions; Justice; History of Italy.
Dentro gli spazi della camorra
Giovanni Starace’s volume Testimoni di violenza: La camorra e il degrado sociale nel racconto di dieci detenuti, offers an original perspective on Camorra-type crime. The volume is the result of testimonies and reflections of a group of inmates from the Poggioreale prison, in Naples, gathered in over a year of meetings. The author manages to create a laboratory of free expression that allows you to enter the spaces of the Camorra, describe the main elements, the rules of engagement, the stratification, the relationships between the common people and the Camorra clans, the psychological aspects, the culture of destructiveness. An approach free from schematisms that vividly and realistically returns unpublished aspects of the Camorra phenomenon.
Keywords: Camorra; Organised Crime; Violence.