(In)Visible Presence: Narratives of inclusion and exclusion in a Milanese public space

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: Urban public space is arguably far from the pacified, freely accessible, democratic space which Western normative literature proposes. It is a site of contention, where different interests, norms and perceptions over appropriate uses and presence come into conflict. The visual is a relevant dimension to understand this process: in fact, claims to space by people with a visible migratory background are often problematized by the media and often responded to with securitization practices. This study contributes to gain insight into spatial practices and the manner in which visibility and invisibility are experienced and strategically influenced by Othered subjects in Piazza Duca D´Aosta, a Milanese square. The result is a case study on the paradoxical meanings that are associated with re-territorialization practices in public space, on a continuum between domestication and detachment, as well as an exploration of the complex relation between visibility as an experience and a practice.

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