Our Lady of Squatters: Housing and Religion | Esposito | Visual Ethnography
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Our Lady of Squatters: Housing and Religion

Emiliano Esposito


This photo essay documents the religious celebration of Madonna dell’Arco —one of the many representations of Virgin Mary in south Italy— during the Easter Triduum. Celebrations involve dancing and singing performances that devotees put in place in order to expiate their sins. This project comprises a series of color photographs taken in the De Gasperi neighbourhood, eastern periphery of Naples, aiming to unveil the peculiar meaning that the rituals of Madonna dell’Arco assumes in the area. The district is a public housing complex where almost half of inhabitants illegally occupy the house where they live. It is a case of squatting that takes place outside any political framework. In the De Gasperi neighbourhood, Madonna dell’Arco has become the most important religious icon for squatters that long for being recognizes as the legal recipient of their houses. The project contributes to the international debate on squatting: it highlights the immaterial meaning of squatting through focusing on the religious dimension of squatters’ everyday life.  



Squatting; rituals; public housing; housing informality; ethnography

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ISSN Print 2499-9288
ISSN Online 2281-1605
Publisher Edizioni Museo Pasqualino
Patronage University of Basilicata, Italy
Web Salvo Leo

Periodico registrato presso il Tribunale di Palermo con numero di registrazione 1/2023