Geography Reference
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ers had bargained away almost fifty years of labor gains and agreements. Worker tra-
ditions were so degraded and labor so debased that there was little if any difference
by 2010 between the working conditions for those with trade union representation and
thoseworkingin Lavoro Nero ortheinformaleconomywherethemostegregiousforms
of exploitation are well documented (Ciafaloni 2011). And perhaps the worst part of
all of this, according to many of my Italian informants, was the loss of culture, which
as one complained bitterly, “Once you kill a culture, you can't revive it.” There was an
overwhelming sense that the world had forever changed, but not for the better. Vanish-
ing were the shared desires for equality, trust in leadership, and general regard and re-
sponsibility for each other, including those who owned little or nothing. Perhaps most
disconcerting was the fading away of collective consciousness, political and social par-
ticipation, and the rise of political apathy, especially among youth who either did not
vote or supported political parties that promoted highly localist and binary ideologies in
defense only of the rights of those who appeared to be Italian citizens, and against “for-
Turin has long had a localist culture based on closely knit social and political net-
works along with a global vision of itself not only as part of a broader Europe but of
the world of workers. That the Northern League recently won the regional elections in
Piedmont is therefore somewhat of a paradox. It is a party with a divisive, tightly com-
munitarian, and anti-immigrant ideology promoting images of a closed territory under
threat of invasion and pollution by people that follow “inferior” ethnocultural beliefs
andpractices. 7 The Italian Communist party subscribed toaninclusive ideology that in-
corporated many Catholics and internal migrants from agricultural zones in the South
and Veneto. Gramsci, founder of the party, was from Sardinia. An industrial city, home
of the Fiat automobile company, and one of the principal engines of Italian economic
expansion and also of the Royal House of Savoy, the city was until recently both pro-
vincial and expansive. And on the surface of it, this expansive, global sense of itself has
been nurtured over the past two decades as municipal and regional governments have
embraced economic and cultural union with Europe and supported the construction of
several multicultural sites such as the Alma Terra, the Gate, the Centro Interculturale
and the planned construction of the second mosque in Italy (the other is in Rome).
Officials have promoted an image of Turin as a cosmopolitan city, and on the outside
paration for the 2006 Winter Olympics improved many of the roadways, lending to the
city's more urban feeling with amplified traffic and more people driving Fiats and other
automobilesmanufacturedinEuropethanthenoisy motos thathadonlyrecentlyrivaled
cars for domination. One of the foremost symbols of Turin's transformation from a pre-
dominantly industrial to a city of research, services, and tourism was the conversion of
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