Category Archives: territories

Visualising the riverbank

(co-authored with Cristina Mattiucci) ‘Visualising the riverbank’, in  City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, Volume 16, Numbers 1-2, 1 April 2012 , pp. 221-234


Drawing on ethnographic observation of a tract of urban riverbank in the city of Trento, in northern Italy, we attempt to link phenomenological observation of social interaction in public places with larger political concerns about contemporary urban public space. While agreeing with Low et al. (Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space & Cultural Diversity. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005) that in order to foster public spaces it is necessary to accommodate the differences in the ways social classes and ethnic groups use and value urban sites, we also argue that one should be wary of planning hubris—which can occur in even `good-willed’ planning, and leads to the creation of domesticated and formalised, but also inherently restricted, spaces for encountering differences.


New Media and Urban Motilities: A Territoriologic Point of View

Urban Studies April 12, 2011
doi: 10.1177/0042098011400771

Abstract. The paper aims to contribute to the study of new media technologies in urban environments. It unfolds at two levels, epistemological and substantive. First, it discusses the issue of the conceptual tools that we can deploy to understand new media, arguing in favour of notions and methods that enable research to capture the double nature, socio-technical and bio-political, of the new media in urban environments. In particular, the paper claims that new media can be seen as a continuation of the process of ‘urbanisation of territory’ described by Foucault, aimed at the creation of a flexibly controllable space of events. Secondly, it criticises substantively the techno-enthusiast user-empowerment ideology that surrounds new media and addresses issues of inequality, control and resistance in and through new media in the city. The argument is that the augmented, hybrid or mixed urban reality of new media like personal and locative media is neither determinist nor unboundedly mobile. While the freedom of movement and the diverging styles of mobility are becoming a crucial factor of stratification, new tensions and struggles over the nature of urban ‘events’ are likely to take place.



Lines, barred lines. Movement, territory and the law

International Journal of Law in Context, 6,3 pp. 217–227 (2010) Cambridge University Press


In this paper an attempt is made to analyse the complex relationship between law, territory and movement. Beginning with a quick overview of the notion of property, the paper suggests that this legal notion represents a way of imagining the practice of inhabiting the planet. Dwelling and travelling are explored as two alternative and complementary ways of inhabiting, and a closer inspection is paid to the moments when they confront each other both ideologically and practically. A territorial question is identified at the core of law, namely the issue of the movement of bodies in space (or motility), together with the control of such movements. From this perspective, movement is not simply one among the many objects over which law exerts control, rather law itself is a territorial endeavour, a movement that acts upon other movements.


On Territorology. Towards a General Science of Territory

Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 27(1): 52–72, March 2010


The development of territorology requires the overcoming of the dichotomy
between determinist and constructivist approaches, in order to advance
towards a general science of territory and territorial phenomena. Insights
for this task can come from at least four main threads of research: biology,
zooethology and human ethology; human ecology, social psychology and
interactionism; human, political and legal geography; and philosophy. In
light of the insights derived from these traditions, the article aims to conceptualize
territorial components, technologies, movements, effects, and their
interplay, in order to establish the main lines of inquiry for territorology. A
general territorology, it is argued, amounts to a sociology of territorial acts
and relations, whose aim is to analyze the expressive and functional components
of territories, as fixed through their organizational and technological

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