The focus of my analysis is Doreen Masssey’s notion of ‘thrown-togetherness’ and how it applies to the Neapolitan case. The socio-economic structure of Naples is characterized by a specific intertwining of pre-Fordist and post-Fordist features of economic organisation. This can be seen in the widespread presence of informal activities that characterises the city on the long-term. Notwithstanding a general decrease in their influence, these activities still play an important role in the reproduction of the urban social structure. At the same time immigrants are involved in a number of commercial activities in the city which constitute the main trait of the new urban informal sector. This can be seen, for example, in the area around the railway station, characterized by the presence of immigrants from Maghreb, China, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern European countries. Without resorting to the overused metaphor of the “porous city”, in Naples a lot of places exist where people can meet out of scheduled arrangements. These forms of spontaneous encounters are based on friendships and kinship networks, but also on the simple sharing of daily life and work spaces. Especially the urban structure of the historical centre of the city, resistant to gentrification and characterised by alleys, markets and craft shops at street level, encourages this type of learning of “togetherness”. This allows the most disadvantaged individuals to avoid social conflicts even in absence of those shared cultural models that the politics of recognition find so relevant. At the same time, it can not compensate the harsh living conditions due to persistent unemployment and poverty, to the subjection to political circuits of creation of consensus and to violent behaviour and control by criminal organizations.
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