Discussing regional inequalities through a geo-historical approach for the political-administrative framework: the case of Southern Italy


This poster illustrates a section of a research I am conducting in my PhD on areas considered as Less Developed in the European Union, through a perspective that looks at the role played by the political-administrative framework and institutions in this condition of marginality. While my research focuses on two areas, in this poster I only consider Southern Italy.

Research Questions and Methodology

As exemplified by the two research questions in the poster, my research aims at investigating how a revision of the administrative framework can be beneficial in modifying the condition of marginality of Southern Italy. In doing so I apply a geo-historical and processual methodology, considering administrative borders both as influential and influenced by historical, social, and political contingences.The role of borders is widely debated in geographical studies, considering them as an element that is not fixed nor unchangeable. As exemplified by several studies, this focus on borders does not concern only national borders but it is relevant also when discussing the administrative ones (Ozouf-Marignier 1988; Gambi, Merloni, 1995; Galluccio, Sturani 2008; Rivière 2012). Notably, these studies have proved several times how processual attention to the administrative framework (Galluccio, Sturani 2008) can improve territorial politics, opposing rational thinking of space without reference for the social, historical, and political dynamics occurring on the territory. Also, it is of relevance to these topics Paasi’s research on regional institutionalization (Paasi 1986) as through this framework it is possible to analyze the processes that involved administrative borders under several perspectives.

Discussion and Conclusions

Starting from the two possible answers to my research question exemplified in the poster, it is possible to reflect on the impact that combining a processual geo-historical analysis with the changes occurred in the administrative framework can have. Firstly, it can point out recurring weaknesses and problems that might go unsolved over time. Secondly, it gives a wider perspective, which shows how these borders shift with every shift in powers, highlighting how these are not fixed. Furthermore, it leads to a reflection on how these borders keep being influential in shaping territorial politics, therefore, from a careful revision of the administrative framework could come an improvement in territorial governance and a change for those areas to modify their condition of marginality and under development.

Main References

Galluccio F., Sturani M.L. (2008). L’«equivoco» della geografia amministrativa: ripensare le dinamiche del «découpage» a partire da Lucio Gambi. Quaderni Storici, 127:155-176.

Gambi L., Merloni F., edited by (1995). Amministrazioni pubbliche e territorio in Italia. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Ozouf-Marignier M.-V. (1988). La formation des départements. La représentation du territoire français à la fin du 18e siècle, Edition EHESS, Paris.

Paasi A. (1986). The Institutionalization of Regions: a Theoretical Framework for Understanding the Emergence of Regions and the Constitution of Regional Identity. Fennia, 1:106-146.

Rivière D (2012). Régions, néo-régionalisme, quels enjeux pour la géographie? Le cas italien. Territoire en mouvement. Revue de géographie et d’aménagement, 16: en ligne: http://tem.revues.org/1889.

MINGO Roberta

Global And Regional Inequalities. What Does The Past Teach Us For The Future?


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