Floriana Galluccio, Maria Luisa Sturani

The ambiguities of 'Administrative Geography': some remarks on the dynamics of admi¬nistrative units starting from the contribution of Lucio Gambi

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The study starts with a concise outline of the contributions given by Italian geographers on the theme of the geographical feature of administrative units. It is shown that this topic has been intermittently discussed and it has been analyzed from a great variety of approaches, in a way that hardly defines a true tradition and a specific field of research to which the definition of "Administrative Geography" is associated, as it happens in other countries. In relation to this background, the contribution offered by Lucio Gambi stands out for its consistency and originality. His research activity of a lifetime has been constantly caractherized by a perspective combining social and scientific commitment. The main legacy of his works is identified in the attention paid to the historical dimension of administrative areas and to the problem of their reform. In particular Gambi's studies have focused the Italian situation marked by the persistence of boundaries generated in historical contexts and for purposes which are very different from those they would serve today. On the basis of a critical appraisal of both Gambi's works and the researches developed from his teaching, some remarks for the renewal of the studies of political geography about the spaces of Public Administration are proposed. The reference is to three points: the adoption of an approach looking at these spaces as processes; the analysis of the role of both practices and representations and the analysis of their interweaving in the building of administrative units; and, finally, the choice of multiscalar approach.

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