Roberta Bartoletti, Giulia Cecchelin

Narratives and Practices of Nature in the City: Vegetable Gardens as Yard Gardens or Domestic Forests

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Nature; Vegetable Garden; Allotment; Social Practice; City.

We have noticed a recent resurgence and an evident cultural change in urban vegetable gardening, in Italy as in many other Western countries. In the article we discuss some findings coming from a qualitative inquiry integrating sociological and semiotic perspectives and methods on narratives and practices of the new generation of vegetable gardeners in the Italian city of Bologna. Among the main reasons for gardening, the interviewees strongly stressed «the connection with nature». Thus, our research question was: what kind of nature - more precisely, «natures» - are conceived and «produced» by gardeners engaged in food self-production in their urban 30-40 square metre patches of land? The ideas of nature emerging from our analysis of gardeners' practices and narratives are four, inside a continuum between the two ideal types of yard gardens and domestic forest: scenery-nature, object-nature, subject-nature and anti-subject-nature, as we have called them. These conceptions mainly coexist in gardeners' practices, in different and even conflicting combinations.

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