I studied communication sciences and I have a PhD in human geography.
After some experiences as a researcher in the universities of Bologna, Paris, Seville and Temuco (Chile), I chose to work independently and in different contexts. I work on alternative lifestyles, agroecology, sustainable fashion and crafts.
I like to combine intellectual work with country life, theory with practices, critical thinking with imagination.
I am passionate about agro-ecology, free and open-source software, fantasy literature, natural medicine, sports on a board.
Human geography, seen as the study of the earth and the relationship between human societies and the environment, is a political discipline and therefore, not surprisingly, neglected. When you talk about geography everyone thinks about the few school experiences, when you need to memorize place names, short descriptions of physical environments and economic activities, with some socio-cultural traits. Human geography, on the other hand, represents a multidisciplinary approach and brings together the contributions of the other social sciences and humanities (history, sociology, anthropology, economics, but also semiotics, psychology, literature, philology, archaeology, architecture…) according to the common denominator of territory. Geography studies the relationship of human beings to the environment.
If geography were not a neglected subject, we would not have reached this point.
But it is also one of the most powerful resources for generating change. “The map is not the territory”, that is to say: our representations are never neutral, but are always the result of our point of view, the vision or tools we use to look at the world. So we understand how geography is political and, indeed, utopian, as Giuseppe Dematteis says, because it identifies the conditions for creating social relations that are different from the current ones, of different forms of power and management (Dematteis, 1985). Geography reflects on reality and its potential for change. It then becomes
“a geography of the possibilities for the territory, which, meeting latent or unmet needs (…), aims to become the foundation of a new social and political order. The danger of such a geography derives from the fact that it is both a description of existing things (even if in latent form) and a critique of the existing.”
Dematteis, G., 1985, Le metafore della terra. La geografia umana tra mito e scienza, Milano, Feltrinelli, p. 25)
For this reason, according to Dematteis, this kind of geography not only poses a “danger of unmasking” for power – since the latter conceals the subjective character of its act of interpretation – but also risks questioning the reality considered “normal.”
“Reality, which is enormously richer, more complex, varied and unpredictable than any of our representations, cannot with impunity be exchanged for its simulacra. And utopia becomes the means of discovering what geographical representations would like to conceal, that is, the real possibilities that the Earth offers for change.” (Ibid., p. 26).
Geography as a utopian science identifies, describes, co-designs and disseminates models that are expressions of possible social organizations, even if they exist in embryonic or small scale, thus helping them to grow, network and establish themselves. Working together with the actors of change. If you will, it is a discipline that corresponds to the concept of relativity in physics, because the researcher does not consider himself separate from the object of his research. Those who practice this kind of geography do not forget that they rest their feet on this earth and are therefore necessarily always also actors on the ground, together with local communities and in the ecosystem.
A view also akin to that of communication disciplines, which see reality as a social construction, aware of the media’s role in shaping public opinion. Such as the theory of “self-fulfilling prophecy,” according to which the narratives we spread can nurture and grow one reality rather than another.
That is why I am concerned with “alternatives.” Not just to study them, but to support them, to collaborate on their reproduction and thus help co-create a world where human societies and the environment are in balance. We have a brand new world to build, and we need to do it fastly.
Each person is important, every small action is important.
Neoliberalism (now also technocratic) wants to convince us that we are powerless.
But we don’t, we just have to keep watch, interpret reality and take responsibility for our actions. We must assume our own power, personal and collective.
As the views of quantum physics and complex systems theory also support: any small element in the system can generate radical change.
Each of our thoughts, information, narrative of “reality” and representation of the territory can trigger an avalanche of change and help create and reproduce a new territory:
the one we desire.
Social science research is not neutral, but political, and I want my work to help generate change.
It is a pirate time. The treasure is hidden. Not on islands in the South Seas, but within ourselves. It is up to us to draw our own maps, build our ships And set sail to take it back.
Some realities with which I have collaborated
Simone Frabboni, our sustainable brand – Consulta Europa (Gran Canaria, Spagna) – Genuino Clandestino – Terra Nuova Edizioni (Firenze) – Campiaperti, Associazione per la Sovranità Alimentare (Bologna) – CNA Emilia Romagna – Associazione Amici della Terra (Ozzano dell’Emilia, BO) – IDEAS, Iniciativas de Economia Alternativa y Solidaria (Cordoba, Spagna) – Universidad de La Frontera (Temuco, Chile) – LADYSS, Laboratoire Dynamiques Sociales et Recomposition des Espaces (Paris 1, Paris 7, Paris 8, Paris 10) – Universidad de Sevilla – Università di Bologna