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Waste Growth Challenges Local Democracy. The Politics of Waste between Europe and the Mediterranean: a Focus on Italy


This article investigates the politics of waste from an Italian perspective as part of a European and Mediterranean space. Waste is a contested field where several ideas, interests and governance patterns have been producing different management models and, despite the European Union’s harmonization targets, “waste wars” continue. The division of North and South is often explained by the “Mediterranean Syndrome,” but the article challenges the view of South European countries as environmental laggards with weak environmentalist movements. Differences among countries are strong – Camorra’s waste traffic is an emblematic case – but the political spacing is more complex and requires a trans-scalar view. Historical legacies and geographical sets must be taken into account too. The modernization process however is dynamic, and three shifts have been detected as groups articulate more participatory governance of waste management.

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