Martina Avanza


Course description
As a social-movement scholar, I would like to organize a workshop about anti-tourism mobilizations. Venice is the perfect place to study the challenges that touristic cities with a very important cultural heritage have to face. Big-ships, AirBandB and mass tourisms have a heavy impact on the city. Gentrification, houses’ cost, damages on the environment, tourism mono-economy are some of the aspects that these movements address. The risks of this mono economy are even clearer now in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mass tourism is an aspect of globalization that has grown tremendously in recent years. It is interesting for the students to think about the consequences of this phenomenon on the local population, economy, environment, urbanism and cultural heritage.
We will try to understand this phenomenon from below by listening to the people engaged in these movements. We will meet and interview their activists. We will analyze their communication through discourse and visual analysis, especially of the movements’ social media.
The final goal is to put on a little exhibition with printed posters that tell the stories of these movements, their activists, their actions and slogans. These posters will portray a less know Venice, the rebel one. If VIU is interested, and the result is good enough, we could organize a small public event around the exhibition. I did the same thing at the VIU for my course on the refugee crisis (fall 2016), and it was a great success.
The movements that I have identified (but more research is needed) and on/with which we could work are: Laboratorio occupato Morion (a social center active on tourist related issues but not only, they have a building where activists in Venice gather to listen to music or eat a pizza), Comitato No grandi Navi (a very active group mobilized against the presence of the cruise ships), the local group of SET-Sud Europa di fronte alla turistificazione (a network of cities in southern Europe facing similar challenges because of mass tourism) and Osservatorio CIvicO sulla casa e la residenza - Venezia (OCIO) (that focuses specifically on the housing issue linked to tourism and especially the AirBandB problem).

Teaching methods
The course will be divided in two parts:
1) Introductive sessions: we will read fundamental texts about the local effects of mass and global tourism and about gentrification in order to acquire the tools necessary to understand the context and the reasons behind the mobilizations that we will study (weeks 2 to 5). We will also acquire some necessary tools about how to analyze a mobilization (week 6-8). Each week there will be two different kinds of sessions. The first one will be structured around the discussion of essays (anthropology, sociology, political science, social geography, economy). The second one will be structured around the analysis of sources and data (such number of residents versus the number of AirBandB in the city, the city regulation of the phenomenon, etc.) or around methodology issues (i.e. how to do an interview). Both kinds of sessions will privilege interactivity.
2) Workshop: there will be no more traditional classes, but we will work together on our data to build the posters (weeks 9 to 12).

Co-curricular activities
-Site visits and meeting with the activists of the movements that we will study.
-Ethnographic observation of protests (when possible).
-Conference by the guest lecturer Giovanni Semi (University of Torino) about the issue of housing and gentrification in touristic cities in Italy.

Evaluation methods
• Class participation (50%), that means not only to be there (I will record attendance, class absences will affect your grade), but also to be an active participant (you have to read the essays and be able to discuss them in class, you need to participate in the data gathering).
• Final Poster (50%).

Learning outcomes
• To learn to read and discuss theoretical texts on the courses' subject.
• To learn to analyze first-hand material (sources) by applying the knowledge acquired during the lessons.
• To learn to produce and collect first-hand material (interviews, visual material) and to analyze-it.
• To organize visually the results (posters).

Bibliography (to be completed)
On the topic:
Herzfeld M., “Engagement, Gentrification, and the Neoliberal Hijacking of History”, Current Anthropology, 51, 2010, pp.259-267.

Novy J. and Colomb C., “Urban tourism and it’s discontent: an Introduction”, in Colomb C., Novy J. (eds.), Protest and Resistance in the Tourist City, Routledge, 2017, pp. 1-30.
Novy J. and Colomb C., “Urban Tourism as a Source of Contention and Social Mobilisations: A Critical Review”, Tourism, Planning and Development, 16-4, 2019, pp. 358-375.
Annunziata S. (ed.), Quaderni, special Issue “Anti-gentrification in (southern) European cities”, 3, 2017.
On the Venetian case:
Bertocchi D. and Visentin F. “The Overwhelmed City: Physical and Social Over-Capacities of Global Tourism in Venice”, Sustainability 11, 2019, 6937.

Michele Vianello, “The No Grandi Navi campaign: protests against cruise tourism in Venice”, in Claire Colomb, Johannes Novy, Protest and Resistance in the Tourist City, Routledge, 2017
pp. 171-190.

Zanini S., "Tourism pressures and depopulation in Cannaregio: Effects of mass tourism on Venetian cultural heritage", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Soustinable Development, 7-2, 2017, pp. 164-178.

Minoia p., “Venice reshaped? Tourism gentrification and sense of place”, in Bellini N., Pasquinelli C. (eds), Tourism in the City -Towards an integrative agenda on urban tourism, Springer, 2017, pp. 261-274.

Salerno G.M., “Extractivism against the common. Venice and the tourism economy”, ACME 17-2, 2018, pp. 480-505.

I will send out PDFs of the readings as the class progresses (on the Moodle platform). These are book chapters, scholarly articles or source (reports, laws, protocols). Readings must be done on time.


Isola di San Servolo
30133 Venice,

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