The Swamp of East Naples: Environmental History of an Unruly Suburb

Caruso, Valerio | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Books & Profiles

The Swamp of East Naples. Cover.

Caruso, Valerio. The Swamp of East Naples: Environmental History of an Unruly Suburb. Translated by Sara Ferraioli. Cambridgeshire: The White Horse Press, 2021.

East Naples’ contemporary history is not special, or unique: its processes shaped a mostly grey suburb nestled in the immediate vicinity of the great southern city, sharing its limits and feeding its needs. A case study with worldwide resonance, the book offers East Naples as emblematic of the deep environmental changes wrought on peripheral areas by processes of energy transitions, economic development and urbanisation. It interrogates modernity’s distinctive global processes of industrialisation and deindustrialisation as enacted on an ancient natural landscape—Naples’ former threshold of coastal and marshy ecosystems, now buried in the sedimentary accumulation of concrete, fumes and toxic chemicals unleashed by industrial and urban development. Caruso interrogates the human choices, the material context and the different perceptions of nature, health or production that led to these changes; and his book turns an environmentally-focused perspective on two of modernity’s distinctive global processes: industrialisation and deindustrialisation. The volume reconstructs the discursive and physical factors that created the East Naples “swamp,” from the late eighteenth century to the present, through its transition from actual swamp to metaphorical, an ambiguous space characterised by chaos and disorder, hostility and risks, but also resistance, dignity and hope. It is a story both local and global, of “hygienist” thought, urbanisation, industrialisation and deindustrialisation, ecological risk and attempted regeneration. (Source: The White Horse Press)

© 2021 The authors and the White Horse Press. Reproduced by permission.