Domenica Farinella Orazio Irrera

Heterotopias of resistance and subaltern classes: Infrapolitics and social struggles for the employment in a Mezzogiorno hospital

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This article focuses on a case of social struggle led by a group of precarious temporary workers in the main hospital of a Southern Italian city. This social struggle took the spatial shape of a permanent picket line in the hall of the hospital lasting seven months. Using heterogeneous ethnographic material, we have analyzed the political emergence of subaltern subjectivity able to go beyond the patronage relationships in the public sector of Southern Italy in order to claim an effective right to stable employment, based on an institutional frame. We have thus stressed the "infrapolitical" dimension, including a range of informal resources, discursive practices, and forms of theatrical performance in which the precarious workers organized the space of the picket line as a "heterotopy" which allowed them to pursue their struggle and obtain stabilization. Finally, we have outlined a theoretical framework in which we analyze the critical tension between a crisis of representation and forms of subaltern subjectivation.


  • Southern Italy
  • Infrapolitics Heterotopy
  • Subalternization
  • Patronage
  • Precarious Temporary Workers
  • Public Sector
  • Theatrical Performance


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