Change, Resistance, and Collective Action in Southern Italy: A Multidisciplinary Symposium

Change, Resistance, and Collective Action in Southern Italy

A Multidisciplinary Symposium

4 September, 2015

University of Kent

Darwin College – Peter Brown Room

This symposium reopens the debate on the Italian ‘Southern Question’ through a variety of multidisciplinary perspectives. Challenging conventional narratives of the retrograde South in opposition to the ‘civic’ North (Schneider, 1992), this symposium is the first to foreground the Mezzogiorno as an important arena for defining processes of cultural signification both at the national and transnational level.

This approach sheds new light on the Southern Italian regions as areas where dynamics of change, resistance, and collective action are constantly at play. It brings together for the first time a wide-ranging set of contributions from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives including postcolonial studies, social psychology, sociology, history, politics and medicine. The cross-disciplinary angle places Italy’s ‘Southern Question’ at the intersection of a number of situated historicities that consider traditional cultural essentialisms alongside contemporary marginal and subversive discourses.


By establishing a productive dialogue between past and present, this symposium will posit the South of Italy as a paradigmatic example of how potential dynamics of collective actions can promote a better understanding of the social, cultural and political disparities affecting subaltern societies.


Confirmed speakers are:

Professor James Newell, (University of Salford): ‘To What Extent is There Still a Southern Question in Italy?’

Professor Iain Chambers (Università L’Orientale): ‘The Southern Question…. Again?’

Professor John A. Davis (University of Connecticut): ‘Beyond the “Passive Revolution” – Re-reading Gramsci on the Southern Question’

Professor Franco Cassano (Università di Bari): ‘Rethinking Southern Thought’

Dr Felia Allum (University of Bath): ‘Enablers, Sponsors and Helpers: The Hidden Face of Italian Mafias’

Dr Giovanni A. Travaglino (University of Kent): ‘Culture, Passivity, and Resistance: Towards a Social Psychology of Omertà’

Dr Maria Ridda (University of Kent): ‘Not the Italy You Expect: The Case of Postcolonial Naples’

Professor Victoria Goddard, (Goldsmiths University):  ‘Gender, Generation and Enduring Precarities in the Global South’

Dr Saverio Stranges (Luxembourg Institute of Health): ‘Italy’s Southern Question: Impact on Health Outcomes and Wellbeing, a Public Health Perspective’


Registration & Fees 

To register your participation, please use the following link:


There is a registration fee for attendees (this can be paid on the day of the event):

Attendees £10

Postgraduate Students £5



The Symposium is sponsored by the International Society of Political Psychology and by the Interdisciplinary Network for Social Protest Research.


Organising Committee

Dr Giovanni A. Travaglino, School of Psychology, University of Kent

Dr Maria Ridda, School of English, University of Kent, and Birkbeck College, University of London

Benjamin Abrams, Department of Sociology University of Cambridge


For further information email Giovanni Travaglino ( or Maria Ridda (

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