UniOR – Napoli

Research activities

The research unit of the University of Naples “L’Orientale” carries out its research in three different contexts: two indigenous Latin American contexts (the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico and the Amazon region of Morona-Santiago in Ecuador) and an Italian one (the Neapolitan hinterland). The first two are post-colonial contexts where extreme forms of energy and mining extractivism with a strong social and environmental impact coexist with rhetoric of conservation and sustainability, finding in the indigenous groups of the region a fragmented front of resistance to the expropriation of territories perceived as ‘ancestral’. The third is a post-industrial context where processes of patrimonialisation and economic and food re-appropriation of urban spaces (typicalisation of local landscapes and products, urban gardens, etc.) are intertwined with ecological scandals and illegal economies.
Starting from these contexts, the research unit aims to document and analyze, on an ethnographic and ethno-linguistic basis, the complexity of social and environmental conflicts at the time of anthropocene: There’ where modern globalization took its first steps and today devours the last cheap natural resources, alienating the native populations from their own socio-environment and from the knowledge of past generations (in Latin America); and ‘Qua’ (in Italy) where decades of industrial development and urbanization have interrupted a close relationship with the environment and today we are witnessing the attempt to re-appropriate a healthy relationship with the land as a critical social practice. The project is supported by decades of research experience of the components in the contexts of investigation, where all of them, in different ways, have combined research and personal involvement in social processes being studied.