Oficina de Ecologia e Sociedade

Reading Group | Political Ecology Reading Group (2020-2021)

«Repairing the commons, restoring communities. The commoning experience of the Scugnizzo Liberato of Naples» by Roberto Sciarelli

March 25, 2021, 14h00 (GMT)


Discussants: Giacomo D’Alisa and Gustavo García López (CES) | Moderator: Stefania Barca (CES)


In the last decade, the social movements of the city of Naples have given birth to several occupations of large, abandoned buildings, transformed into commons which now host several social activities, cultural events and material productions. The cooperative work needed for repairing, cleaning, restoring these spaces and making them habitable, together with the creation of new social bonds, have transformed groups of activists and district inhabitants into communities of commoners. Understanding the commons as tripartite social systems composed by 1) a shared good or resource 2) a community which collectively manages it, and 3) the social labor necessary to reproduce the common resource and the community of commoners, the article analyzes the case of the new Neapolitan commons born from the occupation of a former juvenile prison in 2015, the Scugnizzo Liberato, considering it as an original experiment of “commoning work”, due to its particularly intense activity of “self-restoration” and “regeneration from below” of the urban environment, coupled with a strong focus on community-making. This political experience has transformed empty ruins into an open, accessible and self-governed environment, which now hosts various mutualistic activities, cultural and sport projects, shared artisanal laboratories. At the same time, specific assemblies, workshops and other activities are dedicated to reinforce the relations of solidarity, trust and mutual aid within the community and between the commons and its district. This article explores the definition of “commoning” under the light shed by this experience of physical regeneration and communitarian restoration, comparing it with broader definitions of care work as well as showing its relations with the reproduction of relational goods, new relational bonds and common senses.

This seminar is part of the Political Ecology Reading Group series 2020-21 of the Oficina de Ecologia e Sociedade (CES). If you wish to receive a copy of this paper, please contact ecosoc@ces.uc.pt


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