Category Archives: territoriology

Deligny's Lignes d'erre

On Urban Trajectology. Algorithmic Mobilities and Atmocultural Navigation (with Andrea Pavoni)

(Submitted to Distinktion. Journal of Social Theory)


In this piece, we introduce the notion of ‘atmoculture’ as a conceptual tool to analyse the new forms of mobility supported and enacted by digital algorithms. In historical perspective, we analyse how modernity has created a movement-space where the problem of finding one’s way through an increasingly ‘displaced’ urban space first popped up, with noticeable psycho-social consequences. Reconstructing the new digital media as a continuation of this spatial imagination, we seek to zoom in onto the forms of mobility facilitated by digital algorithms. Urban digital navigation, we suggest, proceeds in parallel with a reorientation of the urban experience towards atmospheric considerations, maximising safety and pleasurableness in the user’s encounters with the environment. In this context, atmoculture appears a spatial-aesthetic, psycho-cultural, and bio-technological milieu that prepares space for convenient navigation. We discuss a number of consequences: first the disburdening effect, whereby subjects delegate to a number of perceptions and decisions to algorithms, expropriating the natural problem-solving aspect of subjectivity; second, the invisible transformations of urban space due to the biases and skews that are built in algorithms themselves; third, the tensional, even contradictory outcomes of atmocultural expectations, whereby the goal of a secure and pleasant environmental interaction is undone by the very quantity of information provided and the level of alertness required from the user.



Spatial perception; Urban mobility; New media; Hodology; Urban Navigation; Urban atmospheres; Atmoculture

Le aree alpine interne come interstizi urbani: appunti da una ricerca in corso

Sagron Mis – Source:
Sagron Mis – Source:

con Cristina Mattiucci

Now Published in Tracce Urbane


ITA: A partire da un focus sulle aree interne dell’Euregio (regione transfrontaliera Tirolo, Alto Adige e Trentino), in questo articolo proponiamo un’interpretazione dell’abitare i territori montani marginali come “interstizi”. Descriviamo anzitutto alcuni processi socio-spaziali osservati in situ, presentando alcune realtà sociali complesse, i cui modelli abitativi, scelte insediative e forme dell’abitare si confrontano dinamicamente con fenomeni multi-scalari. La “condizione interstiziale” dell’abitare emerge in particolare attraverso un processo di decostruzione dell’immagine ufficiale del territorio, analizzando le frizioni che animano tale condizione nella tensione tra l’assetto istituzionale regionale e locale da un lato, e le pratiche di vita dall’altro.

ENG: Starting from a focus on the inner areas of the Euregio (cross-border region encompassing Tyrol, Alto Adige and Trentino), in this paper we propose an interpretation of dwelling in marginal mountain territories as ‘interstitial’ dwelling. First, we describe some socio-spatial processes observed in situ. These are complex social worlds, where housing models, settlement choices and forms of living dynamically interact with multi-scalar phenomena. The ‘interstitial condition’ of dwelling emerges, in particular, by deconstructing the official image of the territory. Analysing the frictions that animate the interstitial condition sheds some light upon the tension between regional and local institutions and life practices.

pdf here : brighenti-mattiucci-2019-aree-interne

Deligny's Lignes d'erre

Beyond rhythmanalysis: towards a territoriology of rhythms and melodies in everyday spatial activities (with Mattias Kärrholm)


Abstract: The recent, rich scholarship on rhythms, following in the wake of Lefebvre’s book Éléments de rythmanalyse (1992), proves that rhythmanalysis is an important sensitising notion and research technique. Despite its increasing recognition, however, rhythmanalysis has not yet become a proper science as its proponents had hoped. In this article, we argue that rhythmanalysis could benefit from being further developed and integrated into a wider science of territories. What research must attain is, we suggest, not simply a recording, description or analysis of rhythms; instead, the goal is to capture the life of rhythms as they enter territorial formations. A neo-vitalistic conception, in other words, could enrich the standard social-scientific understanding of the relation between rhythms and territories. More specifically, we submit that the notion of rhythm could be explored not only in terms of the recurrent patterns of association it defines, but also with essential reference to the intensive situations and moments it generates and, in the end, territorialises.
Keywords: Social rhythms, Rhythmanalysis, Synchronisation, Science of territories, Territorial intensities

Open Access PDF

Airspacing the City. Where Technophysics meets Atmoculture

(with Andrea Pavoni)

NOW PUBLISHED in Azimuth 10.


Credit |
Credit |

In this paper, we seek to show how the notion of technophysics can be applied to better understand the experience of contemporary urbanism. We argue that technophysics exists in dynamic relation to an atmoculture of urban space, whereby the technological and the cultural meet on a deeply affective-atmospheric terrain. Contemporary technophysics and atmoculture collaborate in the quest for comfort and the flight from its antonyms (stress, unease, and fear), but they are also riddled with tensions and contradictory outcomes …

Paginated PDF Version


Morphogenesis and Animistic Moments (with Mattias Kärrholm)

On social formation and territorial production


NOW published in  Social Science Information


Abstract. This piece explores the issues of morphogenesis and metamorphosis in socio-spatial formations and social assemblages. The specific key provided here to apprehend the issue of ‘form’ is what we propose to call the ‘animistic moment’ in form-taking processes. We believe that a conceptualisation of animistic moments might help us to better understand, not simply the coming about, but the specific yet elusive power forms are endowed with. The general social-theoretical horizon for the essay is an approach to social collectives as forms of territorialisation and territorial stabilisation. An inquiry into the genesis and the transformation of forms through animistic moments, we suggest, might also be employed in the study of processes of social territorialisation at large.

Keywords: social theory; genesis of forms; formative processes; individuals and social aggregates; socio-spatial formations; animistic moments;



1. The mystery of appearances
2. Metamorphosis and investments into form
3. Form-taking and the environment
4. The formation of individual collectives
5. Animistic moments and the revelations of form
6. Territorial production through animation

Domestic Territories and the Little Humans (with Mattias Kärrholm)

Understanding the Animation of Domesticity

Now Published in Space & Culture

A Mongolian Ongon


Abstract. Domesticity is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon. In this piece, we approach it from the point of view of a general theory of territories. To do so, we attempt to tackle simultaneously the ecological and spiritual dimensions of home by attending the expressive dimension of domesticity. We emphasise that the expressiveness of home inherently includes the register of the familiar as well as that of the unfamiliar (Freud’s unheimlich). The constant negotiations between these two registers can be appreciated as carried out ‘at the limits of control’. To highlight this fact, we focus on the case of the ‘little humans’, miniature humanoid creatures well attested in traditional mythologies and folk tales across different civilisations. Drawing from anthropological and ethnographic literature, yet with a leading interest in social-spatial theorising, we seek to untangle the relations between humans and the ‘little humans’ – these ‘elusive others’ living with us – in order to clarify the deep meanings ingrained in domestic territories.

Keywords: domestic territories; territoriology; little humans; limits of control; parasites; crowds; animism.


Introduction: Inquiring into domestic expressions
The elusive others living with us
Patterns of relations and the limits of control
Olaus Magnus Historia om de nordiska folken
The Swedish Tomte by Olaus Magnus (1555)

Onore, sacro, intensità. Per una sociologia del timotico

Pubblicato in La società degli individui, n. 56, anno XIX, 2016/2

A un primo sguardo, onore e dignità sembrano opporsi come l’arcaico e il moderno. In questo senso, la missione che il pensiero moderno, “democratico”, si auto-attribuisce è di sconfiggere e superare una regolazione sociale di tipo aristocratico. L’onore viene così considerato da un’ampia gamma di pensatori moderni come retaggio di forme tribali, particolariste ed elitarie di interazione sociale, a cui viene contrapposta una nuova forma morale universalista e democratica, quella della dignità. Tale, in breve, è il sogno kantiano che Rawls (2000: 328) ha denominato “aristocrazia di tutti”. Ma, come la stessa espressione paradossale lascia intravedere, il rapporto tra onore e dignità è estremamente più complesso di una semplice antitesi.

pdf version