ABSTRACT: The interviews on the epidemiological imaginary, collected within the framework of the project Sebiorec,(1) clearly demonstrate that also in Campania, on the border between the provinces of Naples and Caserta - where the issue of waste and land devastation take forms that are unprecedented compared to any other part of Europe - there is a widespread, strong, sacrosanct demand of participation in environment and health management. The request of deliberative ecological democracy is pressing.(2) There is an urgent need to meet that plethora of rights emerging in the "knowledge society" and in the "risk society" that someone has called "rights for scientific citizenship."(3) This request of the population of Campania, net of local cultural specificity, it is quite similar to that of the people of any other region of Europe. The context in which this request of participation is expressed, however, is quite different. Not only and not just for that real or perceived social pre-modern and familist web that would replace a modern civil society in Campania and all across the Southern Italian regions, but also and especially for some structural causes that we here try to list. Campania is a unique region in Europe - in many ways different even from other regions of southern Italy - due to the conjunction of at least five factors, not independent from each other. 1) The presence of a widespread organized crime which, in many areas, metropolitan and non-metropolitan alike, and especially in the provinces of Naples and Caserta, is a sort of state against the State and has one of its main levers of power and a major source of its wealth in the illegal control of the territory, in its different dimensions (military, but also economic, social and even cultural). 2) A huge social and economic disintegration, exacerbated in the last twenty years by a process of deindustrialization (until the early nineties Naples was the fifth industrial city of Italy, today it is a desert where few productive oases survive) that has had few parallels in Europe and that, unlike other areas of the Old Continent, where the old manufacturing industries were closed, has not seen any serious plan to realize policy renewal and a reconstruction of its economy. 3) A huge population density, which makes at least part of the Campania region - particularly in the area straddling the provinces of Naples and Caserta - one single "in-finite" city, an "in-complete" megalopolis in which there is no solution of continuity between the rural and urban realities; in which cities, towns and countryside are piled up without order - without any order, because in the past, even in the recent past, that order somehow existed; houses, warehouses, roads and farmland, cement, fields, unauthorized dumping sites and again cement, in a state of chaos and, often, of deterioration that is, once again, almost unique in Europe. 4) The contemporary presence of two large migration flows, one incoming (usually non-EU), the other outgoing (with a very high number of migrant graduates), are interwoven in a way chaotic to further contributing to tear the already tattered social fabric. 5) Last but not least, the authoritative answer of the State that, in its various forms, now explicitly (through laws and decrees) now implicitly (through activities or omissions of bureaucracies) effectively inhibits at all levels the demand of participation, of transparency and even of simple information. The authoritarianism of the State and its bureaucracies was recently only scratched by the evolution of the local and national political events.
Epidemiologia e prevenzione 01/2012; 36(1):49-55. · 0.65 Impact Factor