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© 2019

The Endless Reconstruction and Modern Disasters

The Management of Urban Space Through an Earthquake – Messina, 1908–2018

Benefits

  • Synthesizes the social, urban, and economic impacts of disaster

  • Provides insights into the everyday life and the survival strategies of a population shaped by disaster over many decades

  • Features excerpts from 85 in-depth interviews with members of informal settlements and housing projects

Book

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 1-17
  3. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 19-41
  4. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 99-153
  5. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 155-198
  6. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 199-231
  7. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 233-271
  8. Domenica Farinella, Pietro Saitta
    Pages 273-286
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 287-290

About this book

Introduction

This book examines the long-lasting consequences of the Messina earthquake, a disaster that struck the city of Messina, Sicily, in 1908. The quake killed 86,000 people and destroyed one of the most important port cities in the Mediterranean. The authors argue that contemporary notions of “disaster economy” and “shock economy” are not specifically features of the present. On the contrary, the elements that characterize contemporary disaster-related speculative processes were largely active at the very beginning of the past century and helped the formation of the present. In addition to considering the historical significance of the earthquake, the authors pay particular attention to the impact of the earthquake on the structural victims of this enduring disaster: the members of the marginal class of people that emerged from the reconstruction. Through the biographical analysis of the inhabitants of shacks and projects, the study analyzes the intergenerational continuity of the subaltern urban experience.

Domenica Farinella, PhD, is a Lecturer in Economic Sociology at the University of Messina, Italy.

Pietro Saitta, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Messina, Italy.

Keywords

Disaster Studies Natural Disasters Urban Sociology Housing Policy Southern Europe Informal Economy Urban Space Class Reconstruction Urban Borders Marginality

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento ScipogUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento CospecsUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

About the authors

​Domenica Farinella, PhD, is a Lecturer in Economic Sociology at the University of Messina, Italy. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Naples Federico II (2004) and has worked at the Universities of Naples and Cagliari as a researcher, and at ISPO-Tuscany Region as a fellow researcher.

Pietro Saitta, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Messina, Italy. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Urbino (2004) and has worked in many national and international university and research institutions, including the Cuny-Graduate Center, Columbia University, Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, and WHO.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“Deftly interweaving theoretical, historical, spatial and social analysis, the authors illustrate powerfully (with global relevance) the irony of capitalist modernity embodied in the century-long national post-disaster reconstruction project in Messina: the creation through bureaucratic territorial “development” of the conditions of precarity and dependency for which those inhabiting and reworking for generations that “temporary” politically and physically constructed landscape are blamed.” (Ann Kingsolver, Professor of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, USA)

“Disasters last a long time. The interminable reconstruction of Messina was precursory of  the spatial and social configurations of inequality that still characterize the city. In 1908, Messina prefigured contemporary disaster relief. For its acute analysis, its compassionate ethnography, its theoretical skill in weaving space with social class and state with financial capitalism, Farinella and Saitta's book is essential reading.” (Magali Sarfatti Larson, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Temple University, USA)

“Domenica Farinella and Pietro Saitta have written a powerful analysis of the 1908 Messina earthquake that reveals its long-lasting impact on the destinies of the city and its people. They show how the earthquake remade Messina, as the fitful rebuilding both ensured the development of an impoverished working class and a bourgeoisie devoted to a rentier economy. Astonishingly clear, acutely written – an important contribution.” (Michael Blim, Professor of Anthropology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA)