Informality and the Neo-Ghetto: Modulating Power Through Roma Camps

  • Isabella Clough MarinaroEmail author


This chapter analyses the processes whereby thousands of Romani people have been segregated and confined to territorially stigmatized camps in Italy’s capital over the last 40 years. It locates these camps and their daily management within Wacquant’s analytic cartography of the production of spatialized marginality, the racialization of poverty and the means through which the bodies and economies of dishonoured groups are governed in the neoliberal era. It argues that these camps produce a neo-ghetto system in which residents are managed through diffuse policing and merging of assistential and disciplinary technologies in ways that extend their control across urban space. A core feature of this management involves constant tension between increasingly expansive regulations and their frequent inapplicability or selective enforcement, forcing Roma to reconcile shifting and unpredictable expressions of power. Multidimensional spaces of informality have thus emerged, not as a condition “outside the state”, but as a terrain within which inequalities are negotiated among actors in ways that do not, however, promote internal solidarity. It is within these contexts that much of the care, control and punishment of Roma occur. The neo-ghetto concept thus allows us to integrate “the informal” within a Wacquantian analysis of the relegation and neoliberal management of dispossessed and stigmatized groups.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Social SciencesJohn Cabot UniversityRomeItaly

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