Prisco, Marilena (2017) Attorialità distribuita e giustizia ambientale. Il ruolo dei dispositivi idrici nella costruzione delle “comunità cyborg”. [Tesi di dottorato]


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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Resource language: Italiano
Title: Attorialità distribuita e giustizia ambientale. Il ruolo dei dispositivi idrici nella costruzione delle “comunità cyborg”.
Date: 10 April 2017
Number of Pages: 235
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: Architettura
Dottorato: Architettura
Ciclo di dottorato: 29
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Date: 10 April 2017
Number of Pages: 235
Keywords: water infrastructures, Environmental Justice, Actor Network Theory
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura > ICAR/20 - Tecnica e pianificazione urbanistica
Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura > ICAR/21 - Urbanistica
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2017 15:26
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 12:50

Collection description

"Distributed agency and Environmental Justice. The role of water devices in making Cyborg Communities". The debate about emergency and water security in urban areas has grown in importance during the last decade. Nonetheless non-human elements like water and water devices are still mainly conceived as separated from the human realm, especially when we refer to centralised infrastructures for water and wastewater. This study argues that starting from the materiality of water infrastructures and looking at how devices are combined with humans, objects of common use, laws, practices and discourses we could have a better account of how environmental justice is produced and achieved in cities. According to these premises, the study applies the metaphor of cyborg and the theory and the method of assemblages (Actor Network Theory) to focus on how injustice is produced through the participation of human and non-human agents during the processes of construction and transformation of water infrastructures in the city. The entanglement of humans and non-humans that gives rise to a particular condition of justice/injustice in the urban space is here defined as “cyborg community”. The issues of misrecognition and distribution (referred to humans by Environmental Justice studies) are used to analyse “more than human” processes. To provide an empirical background to the dissertation’s theoretical framework, the study first develops four international case studies of recent conflicts that were reported by media and campaigns of grassroots movements during the last fifteen years. The aim is to discuss emergent rights to water as well as local and global evolutions of the concept of water and environmental injustice. Drought regulations, new laws and institutions, existing/emerging practices and civic groups were analysed through assemblages starting from four main devices: swimming pools (in California), water tanks (in Gela), pre-paid water meters (in Johannesburg) and never installed pre-paid water meters (in Mumbai). Then the study concentrates on the Italian context and focuses on the campaigns of institutionalised environmental associations. Entailing different actors, values, and conflicts, these campaigns allow to trace the formation of assemblages of multiple agents operating at different scales (including the EU), in which two main interpretations of water rights have emerged: public water and water in landscapes. The study argues that, on the one hand, institutionalised environmental associations took part in assemblages that reinforced the issue of public water. On the other hand they were less effective in shaping a specific approach to water in landscapes, probably with a limited impact on the rise of a socio-ecologic approach to landscape in current planning tools. An in-depth Italian case study is the central part of the research. The case study started from two objects – the two historical tanks of Fornillo and Pianillo – built to collect and absorb rainwater at the bottom of the Vesuvius (Campania) – that have played a central role in the rise of a civic protest for justice in 2013. During the protest inhabitants asked institutions to complete the sewerage system that has been under construction for four decades and asked to disconnect the two tanks from the existing uncomplete system to stop floods and concentration of pollutants in the village of Poggiomarino. Based on an ethnographic investigation and document analysis, the case was reconstructed from two complementary points of view, discourses on devices and materiality of devices. In the conclusive part, the study maintains that, in a global perspective, assemblages of humans and non-humans – involving big agents (i.e. climate change or the concept of equity) and small agents (i.e. little devices) – affect the conditions of justice and have relevant implications on how the city is transformed, both in and out of a planning formal logic. Accordingly, justice is regarded as deeply contextual and affected by material objects combined with multiple and heterogeneous entities (from discourses to practices). The final arguments are explored in relation to some recent innovations of the Italian institutional system concluding that water infrastructures are currently under-investigated in terms of how they produce justice and injustice as technical and socio-material devices. The study concludes that devices should gain a new central role in the agenda of planners as socio-technical, open and mixed (centralised/decentralised) processes of implementation of infrastructures.


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