Una natura (in)immaginabile. Il sacro selvaggio e l’esplorazione urbana delle rovine

Nicola Pannofino


An (un)imaginable nature. The wild sacred and the urban exploration of ruins. For centuries ruins have exercised a fascination over artistic and philosophical fantasy. Human and social sciences have recently paid attention to this topic. If scholars have highlighted the cultural construction of nature, ruins offer an unusual point of view on the inherent naturalness of the category of the artificial. This paper focuses on an emergent but still understudied practice related to the fascination for ruins, “urban exploration”, the infiltration in abandoned places. Based on the analysis of the Italian case, the paper recognizes, in the public discourse of urban explorers, a representation of the auratic dimension of ruins as a concrete symbols of a wild sacred. This form of secular reenchantment is transposed in breaking narratives, that is stories about the abandonment and the unintentional “return of the nature“ in social space. Ruins urge the imaginary for they are places of a spectral presence of the past and challenge the sociological imagination.


Urban exploration | Ruin | Spectrality | Abandoned Places| Temporality

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7413/22818138166


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Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary - Biannual - Edizioni Mimesis