The contentious sovereignties of the camp: Political contention among state and non-state actors in Italian Roma camps


The global proliferation of camps manifests an alarming phenomenon of burgeoning marginalization, and shows that the concept of ‘camp’ is today increasingly crucial to grapple with current changes in the world’s geographies of exclusion and inclusion. Specifically, this article focuses on ‘institutional camps’, i.e. created by government agencies in alleged emergency situations and aims to conceptualize sovereignty over this type of camp. After critically reviewing the ongoing scholarly debate on camp sovereignty, I situate my approach within the work of scholars who see political authority over the camp as comprising a multiplicity of both state and non-state actors. The article contributes to this perspective by drawing on the theory of ‘contentious politics’ advanced by McAdam, Tarrow, and Tilly (2001). Through this analytical framework, I suggest construing camp sovereignties as contentious, i.e. inherently constituted by conflicting and ever-evolving power relations that change according to framing strategies, political opportunities, resources and repertoires of action. In order to show the benefits of such approach, the paper focuses on the empirical case of the Italian Roma camps in Rome, through which I show that camp sovereignty is not only fragmented into a multiplicity of actors but is also the result of conflict, compromise, negotiation, and co-optation among actors whose frames, opportunities, resources, and repertoires constantly change over time.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license(
Uncontrolled Keywords: Camp,Sovereignty,Governance,Contentious politics,Roma
Publication ISSN: 1873-5096
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 07:35
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 14:18
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.sci ... 2219?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-09-01
Published Online Date: 2017-08-29
Accepted Date: 2017-08-01
Authors: Maestri, Gaja (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7935-0358)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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