Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition)


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According to these theories, the traditional model of the city and neighbourhoods has experienced a forced reshaping, both in economic, political and social terms. Their social structure is simplified by a schematic work organization, which mainly requires unskilled workers. The consequent social conflict tends here to be radical, without any form of mediations or negotiation. Referring to politics and culture, we could say that the big industrial city is exactly the opposite of the "polis".

Things change with the end of the industrial society and the emergence of a "new economy" driven by the production of intangible goods. In a narrow sense, this "new economy" refers to the field of information technology and communication. In a broader sense, it also concerns the application of these technologies to the production of goods and services ….

The attempt to refocus the social organization made by the city, has therefore strong determinations. Favoured by the weakness and confusion of other higher political powers, cities found new incentives to structure themselves as social units in the new forms of the economy. Cities are once again fundamental actors, although they are much more exposed to a mutual competitiveness and to all the subsequent risks. At this point, strategies of territorial compensation become much more difficult to implement. The trend towards a deregulated "new economy" and the emergence of social inequality are evident everywhere, in different shapes and in different spatial problems: the underdevelopment of the big cities has not apparently been completely improved by globalization and their persistent inability to achieve an effective rescaling represent, exasperatedly, the other side of the return of the city.

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According to this approach, the city loses its main historical function and ceases to play a decisive role in social integration. As suggested by some leading authors Castells, Sassen and Soja , post-industrial cities and neighbourhoods can lose their ability to construct citizenship and more generally undergo a redefinition of their social identity and roles. Among other authors, Beauregard is very critical towards a part of urban studies and sociology of the city. He recognizes for example how these authors rightly denounce the dangers of income disparities, the mistreatment of immigrants, the increasing criminality and also the increasing ideology of security that pushes towards the multiplication of gated communities, fortress commercial architecture, privatized security systems in public spaces, etc.

At the same time, Beauregard presents strong critiques to these authors, accusing them of over emphasising the situation and neglecting the objectivity which is expected of social scientists:. Traditionally, self-criticism in the social sciences has rested on the prohibition against losing objectivity, that is, against abandoning some semblance of critical distance. Involvement and detachment are central tenets" Beauregard, , p. For all these reasons, this approach has often been accused of adopting a neo-liberal perspective. In fact, the majority of neighbourhoods including those mostly populated by a low-income working class and disadvantaged population cannot be confined to such representations.

Despite the many social problems affecting a large part of the population, namely young people whom we made the focus of our observations in our research we cannot neglect the existence of intense social relations, which may in many cases also have positive effects. Of course, we can point to the existence of precise mechanisms reinforcing and reproducing social inequality, poverty and disadvantage due to a spatial concentration of social difficulties Wilson, ; Alberio, At the same time, although this vision is to a certain extent true, we cannot limit our conception of the neighbourhood to these negative aspects.

Otherwise, we would fail to take into account the wider social reality represented by these neighbourhoods, which are also made up of positive social relations, social capital, solidarity and local social initiatives. This is emblematic in the case of young immigrant origin people in all the three contexts , for whom the neighbourhood represents a decisive reference in the construction of identity and citizenship. At the same time, it also takes the form of a conflict. In fact, as it is true for the general process of post industrialization, we cannot assume that these transformations have an immediate and total effect.

It is important to recognize that these processes are quite slow and although some consolidated social forms might change, this does not happen too quickly or easily. However, we want to highlight similarities and differences on a few points, which we believe are essential to our analysis.

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As far as the reasons for these differences, we can only address them superficially because of the descriptive nature and objective of this article. Although we acknowledge this choice, we also recognize that it is a potential limitation of our contribution and we commit to overcome this limit in the near future, with another paper analysing in depth the history and origins of these differences.

Since that time, suburbs have become more complex with the decentralization of workplaces, retail facilities and higher education, as well as with the densification of the built environment and graying of the population. Phenomena such as poverty and social disadvantage are generally more diffuse and less concentrated in specific areas and among very precise social groups. However, this does not mean that Italian suburbs do not exhibit any signs of social homogeneity, segregation and concentration of disadvantage. We do not argue that Italian neighbourhoods are better, have better quality housing projects or provide better services for their inhabitants.


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Sometimes it is exactly the opposite. However, rather than being completely segregated areas, Italian neighbourhoods seem to show signs of micro segregation Zajczick, Nevertheless, despite being generally less segregated than, for example, French neighbourhoods, their configuration is far from being easy to manage and also leads to important social problems.

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In addition, but this seems to be true in all three contexts, these areas are experiencing an ongoing process of transformation, both from an urban and socio-economic perspective, with a consequent process of gentrification occurring at different levels. In fact, as some scholars have noted, a great percentage of Public Housing Projects in an area may paradoxically turn out to be a negative element. There might be indeed a risk of concentration of poverty. However, saying this, we should avoid any ideological "neo liberal rhetoric" perceiving any type of public intervention, especially inside the market economy and the real estate market, as an element pushing inevitably towards segregation.

However, we may quickly argue how in both contexts, these facts have a strong social meaning and are connected to the right to citizenship and equality. However, mainly due to the transformations of the current socio-economic cycle and to the end of the "Golden Age of the Welfare State" all this has been more difficult to guarantee; especially in the case of immigrant origin young people, whose profile was less and less homogeneous and therefore difficult to tackle.

Sometimes, as will be observed in the following sections, local communities have traditionally been able to develop and exert their role in integration at a local level. The immigration process in Italian cities is much more recent than in France and Quebec, where immigration has already been an issue for many years. France and Quebec had already experienced immigration, in particular from Southern Europe: Italy, Portugal and Greece mainly in Quebec. This phenomenon was different from recent immigration, which mainly concerns people and families coming from so-called developing countries and implies therefore even stronger cultural differences.

However, this process has not been easy or without any consequences. Its signs have remained in the Italian society and may still be discernable today both at the local and national levels. First, we should consider that the so-called "Questione Meridionale", the strong inequality between Northern and Southern Italy, is still unresolved.

For all these reasons, it seems to be a phenomenon and process that is far from being finished. It is still active and working today. This internal migration and international immigration meet, at the spatial level, in a very specific and sometimes conflictual way. Beyond the major national political conflicts, France shows a weakness in democratic life. The latter aspect differs a lot from North America United States, Canada and Quebec and the United Kingdom, where strategies of neighbourhood transformation integrate the immigrant issue and more in general the socio-economic revitalization of these places.

In North America the notion of "citizenship" is indeed historically mixed with the organization of local communities based on a specific territory.

This attachment to the area and neighbourhood community often seems to be more important than the one associated to work the firm. These associations, as for instance the Case del Popolo or Circoli Proletari, were connected to political left parties and were locally very strong, mainly due to their role in the construction sector, facilitating access to property ownership for many working-class households. As in France, Italian urban issues have been for a long time considered, especially by Marxist sociology and politics, of secondary importance compared to the working issue and the relationship between workers and capital factories.

Nowadays, peripheral areas are containers, so to speak, of much more complex phenomena and populations, and the social relations taking place there are more complex and less structured than those of the industrial city. They were places of empowerment and life improvement for many people coming from the countryside Cremaschi, As underlined by Donzelot , most of these observations could be extended to the French case.

Both Periferie and Banlieues were conceived as a tool of modernization and emancipation for the working class. However, in their conception, there was no real bottom up process. Urban planners and politicians designed them as the answer to the increasing process of urbanization. In the everyday life of inhabitants, compared to the countryside, these agglomerations represented a sort of advancement in terms of comfort and services. In fact, as underlined by Jacques Donzelot, in the past two decades we can observe in France an attempt to move from "consultation" to "implication", something which should not be taken for granted.

Continuing from this thesis, this shift may be controversial and needs democratic legitimation in order to develop self-determination of individuals and community entities. In particular for the most vulnerable ones. Associations, trade unions and the Catholic Church were the main actors developing initiatives and actions to meet the needs and problems of the population living in these neighbourhoods.

However, due to the industrial decline and the subsequent changes affecting the working class, there has also been a change in the relationship between the neighbourhood, its inhabitants and the factory.

Over time, this auto-organization and the support of the Church was replaced by the Welfare State, with its centralized institutions and professional services except for the CLSCs. Today, with the decline of the traditional organization of these communities […], this is where the imperative of new social and economic revitalization strategies stems from, among which that of Community Economic Development. First, this is due to the fact that, as already underlined, the problems of segregation and poverty concentration seem to be less an issue on the Italian political agenda, in part because of the difference in the concrete spatial configuration of the city.

Some of these tools have been introduced in the last ten, fifteen years, based mainly on the French and British examples, but not homogeneously over the entire national territory Mubi Brighenti, A problem for Italy is indeed the high presence of institutional fragmentation and a less developed framework for local social policies Saraceno ; Mingione ; Bifulco ; Alberio This institutional fragmentation and the redistribution of responsibilities among different political administrative levels State, regions and municipalities , as well as a Welfare State traditionally characterized by weak and often discretional money transfers impeding the development of services to support family responsibilities, may explain the lack of a unique and coherent policy setting.

These initiatives introduced in , aimed at the requalification of housing projects neighbourhoods. In part, these initiatives are based on the condition of social disadvantage, which is one of the criteria to be followed for implementation, although they are not specifically aimed at tackling specific social problems, aiming, rather, to enhance social participation. This is mainly due to a change in the program, made in at least two phases. The current phase concerns more the regional level, sharing together with the central government, more financial powers.

In addition, regions can define all the criteria for admission and policy evaluation Bifulco, Focusing also more on the socio-economic objectives and empowering the role of citizens in the definition of these neighbourhood contracts Bifulco, Despite some concrete effects, the implementation process has been extremely long and is only now coming to an end, although the Ministry of infrastructures has tried relaunching them in Regarding local social policies in France, the starting point for local and territorial interventions has been the Habitat et vie Sociale program of — one of the first initiatives aiming an intervention in and the requalification of peripheral neighbourhoods, from both the social and spatial points of view.

Even if the Politique de la ville has received a lot of attention in the media and in political debate, it still appears as a second level policy, in particular as far as the national budget is concerned. It is simultaneously global, fragmented and bureaucratic. Global, because it is based on a global diagnosis of the neighbourhood and local context. However, we observe a fragmentation in public service provision and social, cultural and economic interventions.

Every activation of specific policies at the neighbourhood level also implies heavy administrative procedures. We have often observed forms of hybridization between economic and social activities, although this has required a lot of effort to determine the "right" balance between both Alberio and Tremblay, These organizations imposed a new way of doing economic development through a model strongly embedded in the community and very much preoccupied with social integration, as is the case for Social Working Enterprises Alberio, Tremblay Social and economic interventions were connected in this framework, including also the local initiatives fighting poverty and exclusion Klein and Champagne, It means that other decisive issues such as citizenship, participation and involvement of local communities are considered important in these initiatives.

This participatory or inclusive dimension has clearly been something that differentiates the Quebec experience from other contexts in North America: Ontario and the United States Fontan, Klein and Tremblay, ; Favreau, but also from France and Italy. As far as Italy is concerned, despite some significant but non-homogeneous initiatives at the territorial level 18 , some problems such as the weaker role of the State and some strong regional differences mainly between Northern and Southern Italy do not allow the public actor to play a similar role as that of consultation traditionally observed in Quebec.

In Quebec, we find a combination of local bottom-up initiatives and public policies supporting these initiatives that really set Quebec apart, and the institutionalization of these organizations and policies make it an important innovation in the field of local socio-economic development Favreau, ; Tremblay, Klein and Fontan, , , Alberio and Tremblay, This urban project implemented by a corporation Angus Corporation put together in a former working class and industrial neighbourhood several players such as private firms, social economy actors and cooperatives, public institutions, private real estate developers, as well as Public Housing Projects and housing cooperatives.

Despitethe fact that these new organizations are under the direct control of the city, this change represents in our opinion a clear shift towards a business orientated development. We therefore question the place of social development in these renewed tools, although we acknowledge the existence and importance of consultation at the local level.

We have observed how various concepts have been put forward to define the different meanings, and highlight some particular situations in specific countries.

Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition) Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition)
Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition) Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition)
Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition) Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition)
Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition) Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition)
Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition) Réflexions sur létat du monde : 2007 (Points de vue) (French Edition)

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