Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
removal of identifiable foreigners from central locations to the shadows of common
spaces. In the l990s the city appeared to have been becoming culturally diverse, as one
would frequently travel or shop next to people of color, some culturally identifiable be-
cause dressed in colorful flowing or white robes or African print shirts and dresses and
caps or hair coverings. Once highly visible in the city and particularly in the residential
areas around the Porta Nuovo train station, shops in the San Salvario neighborhood, on
the streets in the retail arcades along Via Po, and in the Sunday “balon” or multiethnic
market, people of African descent are now seen much less frequently in public places.
They are there, but less visibly in their flats and workplaces or the “black spaces” of
occupied buildings, detention centers, and homeless shelters. Informants speak of the
heightened and frequently chilly reception they often experience while going through
everyday activities.
Place politics can be exclusionary and reactionary, and groups such as the Northern
League define themselves with a monolithic, territorial sense of belonging as against
outsiders (Keith and Pile 1993; Creswell 2004; Adams, Hoelscher, and Till 2001; Till
Southern Italians, Italo-Africans are positioned as permanent interlopers, unwanted vis-
attendant privileges and rights. As Pugliese has argued, there is a fear in Northern Italy
that “whites are at risk of being overthrown by people of colour,” and there's a “para-
noic sense of white people under siege and facing the possibility of extinction due to
the increasing presence in the Italian peninsula of people of colour …” (Pugliese 2008,
parks, markets, and streets are not swept clear of extracommunitari (especially people
ofcolor), the urban spaces and very social fabric ofItaly will be polluted, rendered non-
white, and lose its identity (and real or imagined privilege) as part of the European cit-
adel. As Umberto Bossi, the Northern League's leader has argued explicitly, “'it is im-
possible to assimilate' these immigrants because the cultural differences are too great.
The difference in skin colour is detrimental to social peace. Imagine if your street, your
public square, was full of people of colour, you would feel no longer part of your own
world” (quoted in Pugliese, 30).
However, as Doreen Massey suggested, from an analytical perspective places can be
conceived as products of interconnecting flows and routes of people, ideas, and things
(Massey 1993). And the transformation of Turin's public spaces as Italian-African-Arab
sites should be seen as embodied instantiations of the transcolonial interweavings of
Europe and Africa. Instead of conceiving of Turin, Italy, or Europe as a distinct, geo-
graphically bounded discursive place, I think it crucial to reimagine its cartography
throughtheontologyofpeople intheAfrican Diaspora with air,water,andvirtual arter-
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