9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

Ethnography of an Italian Self Managed Social Center: Everyday Forms of Mobilization and Resistance

Ethnography of an Italian Self Managed Social Center: Everyday Forms of Mobilization and Resistance

This paper examines the Social Centers in Italy. These are groups or self managed communities (about 200 all over Italy) formed by non-institutional political activists coming from the no-global area (or rather new global, mostly students, unemployed young people). They occupy abandoned buildings where they organize political, social, and cultural activities.
The Self Managed Social Centers (CSOA) is a privileged place in which one can study the global/local interaction within a social, cultural, political environment where actors live and act: a) locally contextualising global conflicts/injustices b) globalising experiences and strategies for cultural action and political mobilization.
The data were collected as part of an ethnographic research (from April 2007 to now), still in progress, within the CSOA Bruno of Trento (Italian city of the northeast).
The picture that emerges is complex and varied. The CSOA appears to be of considerable strategic capabilities of adaptation and mobilization, large production capability and cultural innovation. The group of actors who manage the center is particularly heterogeneous and characterized by strong social differences (age, status, education, etc.). The group creates, owns, develops social capital which is quickly activated in times of high political conflict (local, national and global). The CSOA itself becomes a non-institutional place of cultural, social, political production. These initiatives create culture, as a result of a continuous interaction between tradition (mostly ideological elements) and innovation (mostly countercultural elements), and claim to represent new norms and values of reference