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Matera, The Shame of Italy

Part 1 Dissertation 2022
Daniel Green
London Metropolitan University | UK
This dissertation looks at how ‘shame’ is used by authority to undermine the credibility of those in the poorest classes, giving more power to those who already have it and removing it from those who need it the most. The Italian city of Matera is used as a case study, exposing the narrative of ‘shame’ that was constructed by politicians and public officials in the 1940s and 1950s prior to passing a law to evict the city’s residents. The dissertation also reviews how shame as a tool has been adopted in the making of cities, by looking at London and the UK more broadly. The dissertation reflects on the impact of shame and how it is felt most acutely by those in the least dominant social groups. The dissertation argues that through the consistent shaming of the poor by those in power and repetition and propagation through the media, the concept of casting shame on the poor has become firmly embedded in society. With this, shame is seen to be leveraged as a planning tool, used to uphold imbalances of power with regards to the inhabiting and planning of cities.

Daniel Green

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