Meridiana. 103, 2022. Città e finanza

Testata: Meridiana • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
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Nella storia recente la grande recessione iniziata nel 2007 ha mostrato le città quale «epicentro delle crisi capitalistiche» e ha evidenziato la relazione tra capitalismo finanziario e sviluppo urbano.

La trasformazione del suolo urbano non solo in luogo, ma in mezzo dell’accumulazione di capitale e dell’espansione finanziaria è una dinamica radicata nella storia del capitalismo che ciclicamente tende a risolvere, almeno temporaneamente, le sue crisi interne di sovraccumulazione attraverso l’espansione geografica e la trasformazione dello spazio. La crisi finanziaria che ha avuto avvio con i mutui subprime negli Stati Uniti, è stata interpretata come un effetto del dirottamento, avvenuto negli anni precedenti, degli investimenti degli attori finanziari dal settore produttivo, generatore di redditi per la classe media e operaia, al settore immobiliare e delle costruzioni. È precisamente in questa particolare congiuntura dello sviluppo storico del capitalismo chiamato «finanziarizzazione» che la sezione monografica di questo numero di «Meridiana» contestualizza e analizza la relazione tra città e finanza.

Gli articoli raccolti in questa sezione individuano la finanziarizzazione tra gli aspetti strutturali e sistemici che caratterizzano le città globali e che si accompagna alla deindustrializzazione, alla terziarizzazione dell’economia, alle migrazioni della forza lavoro. Queste tendenze globalmente diffuse non devono però far concludere che lo sviluppo urbano finanziarizzato sia un processo omologante ed omogeneo. La necessità di cogliere questo meccanismo estremamente variabile motiva lo sforzo compiuto dagli autori di proiettare sullo studio della città un approccio relazionale alla finanziarizzazione. La prospettiva qui proposta ci guida verso una declinazione allargata tanto del concetto di spazio urbano quanto del concetto di finanziarizzazione.

L’insieme dei saggi presentati mostra che il capitalismo finanziario ha posato le mani sulle città secondo una strategia che va ben oltre la questione della casa e che, pertanto, lo spazio urbano interessato dai fenomeni di finanziarizzazione va ridefinito: non è solo quello abitativo ma riguarda anche spazi pubblici e privati destinati a scopi ricreativi, commerciali, e sociali in un senso che va al di là del ristretto ambito familiare. Per tale ragione, senza perdere le connessioni con la località e il suo portato specifico, i diversi articoli di questa sezione sono accomunati dalla riflessione sul ruolo giocato dallo Stato e dalle istituzioni pubbliche nella complessa relazione con il mondo finanziario privato; sul legame dei processi di finanziarizzazione dei quartieri originariamente destinati a coprire il bisogno abitativo, con la classificazione dei loro abitanti in termini razziali e di classe che gli agenti del mercato immobiliare e finanziario adottano; sulla relazionalità intima della finanziarizzazione dell’abitare, che si gioca internamente alle reti parentali ed etniche.

Allo stesso tempo, l’attenzione verso le soggettività invischiate nei processi di finanziarizzazione fa emergere delle figure e dei collettivi in grado di «inventare» tattiche, e in alcuni casi vere e proprie resistenze ai processi di messa a valore del suolo urbano. Più in generale, la varietà territoriale, quella temporale, e infine la varietà dei gruppi coinvolti ci riportano alla necessità di far passare qualsiasi teoria economica dalla verifica della storia, dell’antropologia e, più in genetrale, delle scienze sociali.

La finanziarizzazione della città: spazi di rendita e di relazione a confronto
Zaira T. Lofranco, Francesco Zanotelli

Has finance been more important to urban growth or has urban growth been crucial for financial expansion? This article seeks to answer this question drawing from multidisciplinary literature that focuses on the urbanization process in the peculiar conjuncture of financialized capitalism. Leaving on the background definition of financialization formulated by economists or political economists, it suggests adopting a relational approach to financialization of the urban space. Setting macro and micro analysis in dialogue, this approach is able to shed light both on structural aspects and social impact of financialization process in variegated historical, political and geographical contexts, as the articles of this themed section widely show.

Keywords: Urban Studies; Financialization; Rent; Relationality


Transizione verso cosa? Un’antropologia storica della finanza, della moneta e delle crisi economiche
Don Kalb

Transition to What? An Historical Anthropology of Finance, Money, and Economic Crisis

The last decade of financial crisis, «financialization» and «quantitative easing» has been a feast of public learning about money and finance. Anthropology, history, and political economy rediscovered a «forgotten» history of money as fundamentally a public good rather than primarily a private one. This article discusses the rediscovery of that history. It also notes that, after a turbulent decade of class and political polarization, including a worldwide pandemic, we also learnt the hard fact that under capitalism it just cannot be publicly conceded that money, if we want to, costs nothing, even though that is scientifically true; nor that cities and our planet are not for private accumulation. At least, it appears, this cannot be said with full logical consequence. It requires the end of capitalism. But it is of immeasurable importance for our politics that we now know this to be true.

Keywords: Money; Capital; State-Finance Nexus; Contestation


Nuove forme di dipendenza, dualismo ed esclusione. La finanziarizzazione della città in Medio Oriente e in Nord Africa
Clara Capelli

New Forms of Dependency, Dualism and Exclusion: The Financialization of the City in the Middle East and North Africa

Financialization in the Global South represents a further form of subordination to the centers of the advanced capitalism in the Global North. In particular, this phenomenon seems to be deeply intertwined with new patterns of urbanization characterized by high-end, exclusive buildings and infrastructure fuelling patterns of marginalization and exclusion of the population through financial channels that extract value and divert resources that should be used for public services and productive investments. This paper analyzes the financialization of urban projects and infrastructure in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by applying a non-mainstream economic approach.

Keywords: Financialization; Urbanization; Dependency; Dualism


Commercializzazione dell’azzardo e processi di finanziarizzazione: la diffusione del gambling negli spazi urbani
Filippo Lenzi Grillini

Commodification of Gambling and Financialization Processes. The Gambling Diffusion in Urban Contexts

Recently, Italy has become one of the largest European legal gambling markets. This study, using an ethnographic approach, has provided an opportunity to explore the experiences of gamblers and to monitor, through participant observation, how the slot machines that have invaded cafés, tobacco shops and gaming halls, have contributed to partly change some neighbourhoods in Italian cities. Within the frame of reference that concerns the association between progressive financialization of capitalism and the spread of gambling, this paper analyses the various points of contact between the two processes: the «financialization of the everyday» and the extensive availability of gambling products.

Keywords: Anthropology of Gambling; Financialization; Ethnography; Italy


Ori olimpici: processi di finanziarizzazione a «Rio 2016»
Silvia Stefani

Olympic Gold: Financialization in Rio 2016

Based on ethnographic research carried out in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the article analyses the financialization of urban spaces, housing and everyday life of low-income classes in the Olympic city. Olympic Games, indeed, have been a favourable framework for consistent urban and social change of Rio de Janeiro. The article studies the synergy between favelas’ evictions and urban space assetization, and housing financialization prompted by the social housing program «Minha Casa Minha Vida». Finally, the fight against informal economies and services will be examined as aimed at financializing favelas’ everyday life. Then, informality appears as a specificity of the context considered, being a core «asset that escapes financialization».

Keywords: Financialization; Favela; Evictions; Social Housing


Finanziarizzazione, processi migratori e razzializzazione dello spazio urbano nella periferia milanese: il Satellite di Pioltello
Dario Carpini

Financialization, Processes of Migration and Racialization of the Urban Space in the Periphery of Milan: the Satellite District of Pioltello

From the 1990’s onwards, the spread of speculative mortgage loans among the less privileged has violently reproduced and amplified forms of social exclusion. The Satellite of Pioltello – a high-density neighbourhood situated in the eastern periphery of Milan – represents an example of how the financialization of the housing market has determined the exploitation and marginalization of migrant families in Italy, causing processes of racialization of the urban space. Through the testimonies and data collected during – and after – my ethnographic research in 2018, the article will provide a reconstruction of how this neighbourhood has incorporated the mechanisms of financial speculation.

Keywords: Financialization; Housing Market; Migration; Racialization


Quanto vale lo spazio pubblico? La finanziarizzazione della città e la lotta per il parco Hastahana a Sarajevo
Zaira T. Lofranco

What’s the Public Space Worth? The Financialization of the City and the Struggle for the Hastahana Park in Sarajevo

This article illustrates the struggle between an association of citizens and the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which interested in building its headquarter in the Hastahana park, located in central Sarajevo’s neighborhood of Marijin Dvor. This political dispute expresses Sarajevans’ resistance to a marked process of financialization of their city, that intensified since the end of the 90s conflict. The article reconstructs the peculiarities and the contradictions of this process and ethnographically analyzes the negotiation of the value attributed to public space by politicians and citizens and their strategies for depoliticizing and re-politicizing it.

Keywords: Financialization; Public Space; Public Sphere; Sarajevo


L’intermediazione immobiliare in un rione indo-pakistano italiano
Sara Bonfanti

Circulating Home Abroad: Real Estate Entrepreneurs in an Italo-Punjabi Suburb

The article investigates residential conflict in a Hindustani suburb in Brescia. How could we account of real estate speculation within an «ethnic» brokerage system, nourished by poor housing policies and micro-scale transnational capitalism? The case study reveals the short-circuits behind the financialisation of housing: the tension between residents and property owners, between those who extract monetary value from the «house» and those who struggle to have one. Halfway stand the new landlords, long-term immigrants who have invested in «bricks and mortar» to consolidate their status and provide a roof for newly arrived compatriots, triggering a spiral of distrust and dubious reciprocity.

Keywords: Urban Ghettoes; Real Estate; Transnational Brokerage; Punjabis in Italy


Mauro Giardiello, Rosa Capobianco, Può la mobilità determinare un cambiamento sociale? Il caso studio dei giovani calabresi
Mauro Giardiello, Rosa Capobianco

Can Mobility Bring about Social Change? The Case Study of Young Calabrians

Youth mobility from Southern Italy can represent an example of the complexity of social change. Bourdieu’s theory allows to understand how change originates in young people, modifying or renewing their mental schemes and views on social reality. The innovative aspect of the contribution is to highlight, in the passage from one field to another, the relational process through which habitus, field and cultural capital are modified and change, determining a transformative thrust in the subject. Findings are based on the analysis of 30 in-depth narrative interviews with youth and young adults from Calabria who left their native village/city to move to Northern Italy or to European countries.

Keywords: Young People; Mobility; Social Change; Habitus


Alla scoperta della Cirenaica. Esploratori, geografi e archeologi versus Senussi (1870-1915)
Souadou Lagdaf

Discovering Cyrenaica. Explorers, Geographers and Archaeologists Versus Senussi (1870-1915)

The Italian occupation of Libya was preceded by an intense exploration of the territory then under the control of the Ottoman Empire. These geographers, travelers, anthropologists, and archaeologists founded an Italian colonial «professionalism» as they gradually penetrated inland, either in collaboration or in competition with similar European and American missions. These inland excursions exposed the visitors to the new and energetic Senussa brotherhood, whose religious livelihoods included political and military characteristics. Archaeologists also began fomenting conflict on the ideological level by exposing the rich deposits of Greek-Roman antiquity present in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. The myth of the Mare nostrum was thus reborn as the Italian right to control the Eastern Mediterranean.

Keywords: Cyrenaica; Sanūssiyya; Explorers; Colonialism


Come eravamo: lo studio della povertà a Torino tra innovazione e dialogo con le politiche
Manuela Olagnero

The Way We Were. The Study of Poverty between Innovation and Dialogue with Policy in Turin

The article describes the changing background of a group of social researchers engaged in studying poverty and vulnerability in Turin from 1980’s to the first decade of 2000’s. Since the early 2000’s the researchers, inspired by Life Course approach, chose to collect the life transitions and experiences of stressful events of people who had fallen into poverty and were receiving social assistance. The «careers» of the poor (primarily women with children) were investigated through a longitudinal analysis based on social service-provided records, questionnaires and life narratives. Focusing on the institutional administration of the needs of poors, offered a new point of view about falling into, and escaping from poverty.

Keywords: Longitudinal Analysis; Urban Poverty; Life Course; Turin