In this episode Stefania Barca and Miriam Corongiu talk with Maria Laura Amendola of the collective “Io voglio restare in Irpinia”. They discuss about restanza, a practice but also a movement started by people from southern and rural areas of Italy to counter the diaspora as the only viable life strategy. The concept of restanza was initially proposed by anthropologist Vito Teti blending together the verb ‘to stay’ and the noun ‘resilience’.
We ask why is restanza a feminist concept? We delve into the multiple meanings and practices it contains especially in Sant’Andrea di Conza, Irpinia: it means resisting the patriarchal / capitalist violence that wants rural territories to be perfectly integrated into the circuits of value production – therefore either agribusiness, or mass tourism, or energy production (or even illegal circuits of value, such as the disposal of toxic waste) making any other form of rural development invisible and marginal.
Taking care of the territory also means defending it from extractivist aggressions, that is, from the attempts by unscrupulous companies to exploit local resources for their own exclusive advantage without any respect for the natural balance and the very life of those who live there. The collective “Io resto in Irpinia” has committed against wind power exploitation that is not identified with clean energy, but with the depredation and distortion of the landscape.
Just as domestic care work has no value in capitalist patriarchy, so care for the territory has no value – and this legitimises any form of violence against the territory itself. In the restanza movement is reflected the care of the territory itself, the love for one’s land and the desire to stay.
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