Community Psychology 



The community management has an useful way to social construction of the territory 
through the cultural tourism


Some notes about community  development on the sidelines  of 5° Seminario Itinerante “L’IMMAGINARIO SIMBOLICO”

by Alfredo Anania


Localism and globalism 
a decisive challenge in a quickly transforming world


  The greatest revolution produced by Internet is probably the progressive alteration of the  traditional "valence of the place", in fact, in the web the “ties” and the “possibilities” are identical for everyone, namely, each Internet user enters a "common place", a space which is democratically accessible to every world citizen who can have there a "settlement" (own site), if desired.


     Practically, Internet, even if on the one hand it can be one of the principal means used for globalization, on the other hand it has opened in the world an enormous space of liberty and democracy, that is diametrically contrasting to the risk of the massification of the cultures, of uniformity of thought, of a fall in the forgetfulness of places which are repositories of specific popular traditions, of loss of identity by a culture  and loss of the bond with its own matrixes which certainly represent unique and unrepeatable “goods” to be protected and to pass down.

    From this viewpoint, paradoxically, the challenge to accept by the localism is a community able to find ways for surviving to globalism and being able to preserve own function, own specificity and a strong identity through a variety of initiatives valorising: own folkloric-cultural-environmental patrimony. Otherwise, it is really through the cultural melting pot - by means of the contact and the exchanges with the Other, the different one, the foreigner - that the local community can avoid the risk to undergo the globalization, since only from the cultural exchange with the Other a  “ new thought”  can born so allowing original models of empowerment and effective projects about social and economic development

Cultures rise, flourish and then they go down, without fully knowing the causes of this decline; the true reasons are probably the loss, at one  historical moment, of the ability to continue to practice a real function in the  "cultural economy" of humanity, regarded as a whole eco-system. Some cultures, as ours, typically Mediterranean, still maintain great "light-bearing" potentialities in the sense that

they are able to significantly go on in giving light and contributing to the “design”, to the “program”, to the genius of the whole humanity, however, on condition that they aren’t closed in themselves and in a blind narcissism. Let's not forget the message of García Márquez in "One hundred years of solitude": «the progenies sentenced to one hundred years of loneliness» don't have the possibility to hand down, they are deprived of one «second opportunity on the earth», they are inevitably destined to disappear!!

It is necessary to safeguard the Soul of Territory

It is evident that the province of Trapani, so rich in archaeological foot-prints and in  folkloric traditions, has all the characteristics to be able  to offer itself on the international scenery, and with a central role in the Mediterranean, as a privileged territory for cultural tourism. From this perspective, even if it is not its primary purpose, the Itinerant Seminar “L’Immaginario 


Simbolico”, since its debut in 1995, has tried to give its contribution, also researchingways that allows the progress of the human without lacerating the "Soul of the territory", whose needs we must absolutely safeguard if we want to protect the individual and that collective well-being.


Cultural tourism and community development

Every good City or Province-manager - always supposing that the common good, the social construction of the territory and the improvement of the community are in his heart more than personal interests or on behalf of party and lobbies that sustain him - in my opinion, he should greatly overlook some potentialities connected to cultural tourism.

I would begin from the less foregone fact that is the importance of the pluralism, of the meeting with the other cultures and of the study of the mutual matrixes really as means for growing and empowering the local community, both because in the comparison with the Other we have the possibility to mirror us, to narrate us and, therefore, to acquire greater social self-awareness, both because in getting near to the Other and in allowing it to come near us we become  protagonists of an operation of historical course just when actually, at world level, the fundamentalisms, the religious wars , the ethnic rejections, and so, wildly increase.


A dynamic constructing the social realty

The community development model bases on the recognition of the different potentialities and the intrinsic resources of a community and on the researching means to levitate it, paying attention that the social construction of the territory doesn't consist in prefabricating (as unfortunately it usually happens), imposing it, a territorial planning but in favouring the social changes and developments by means of  

proper psycho-social ways for letting to mature in the community a spontaneous and gradual being aware, for favouring its ability to a social analysis, to invent new solutions for the attainment of all that we can say common good; the local government unities should only have the assignment to support and to sustain the initiatives sprung by the collective thoughtInsofar, it would necessary to change the models for socially constructing the territory, replacing the habit to programmatically predetermine the changes (synoptical-rational approach) – which thinks (or act as if) a linear causality in the social problems - with the praxis founded upon a "concertative approach" or rather a "participated" planning so that every social actor has a space of self-determination and a right of concertation;  a model, this last, that implies also periodic verifications about the realization of the projects and the possibility of revision in the light of the results step by step reached. The "concertative” model  sets the bases for a dynamic construction of the social reality. The basilar philosophy of the local government unities should, therefore, model itself on the principle of essentially acting as supporters for the construction of own Polis by the local community.


Community development and empowerment of the territory


It is clear that the economic model and a suitable management by means of objectives are the focal points of the Community Development.

Should, for example, a community decides that can be useful to increase the tourism in its territory, organizing some important manifestations, then it is essential that the start of projects is preceded by an evaluation of the local resources, of the environmental and cultural

  compatibility, of the relationship costs/benefits and, besides, that the realizations are monitored during all the proceeding through some predetermined indicators in the design  phase. It seems essential that the city-management or the community-management knows how to give development to a planning of activities - derived by the indications prearranged by the community - that, in employing financial and human resources, keep in mind the need as much to bring a general economic and commercial benefit as to increase the prestige of the place, through very original projects. In every case, the city-management should primarily orient itself toward those realizations that result more suitable to the traditions of the territory.

                                                  In conclusion, in our historical moment, when the interlacement between economy and culture has more and more the tendency to stronger grow and when the budgetary evaluations owe to accompany the programmatic choices by the community through the local public institutions, it can be useful to fix some essential points to which one should usefully inspire any initiative and/or realization developed with public economic resources aimed to 

favour the development of the local community and its empowerment:
a) to employ the human and environmental resources that are existing in the territory; b) to valorize the identity of the place (in line, therefore, with the tradition); c) to use innovative state-of-the-art technology and/or qualitatively optimal; to produce (verified) economic comfort for the whole community; and) to promote the “image” of the community at domestic and, if possible, at international level; f) to
favour the meeting and the exchange with people who are belonging  to other cultures (also through the the tourist flow increase); g) to coordinate among them the most prestigious initiatives and to assure them continuity.


The social construction of the territory on the sidelines of the 
5° Itinerant Seminar L'IMMAGINARIO SIMBOLICO experience



The community has to feel itself fully involved in the iniatives

Effectively, the 5° Itinerant Seminar, in comparison with the previous editions, has recorded a greater involvement by the local community which has “felt”, for so to say, more “own” the manifestation, less reserved to the experts of the sector therefore, it has taken taste to assume an active part during the various seminars, fully contributing to the elaboration of a psycho-anthropological discourse

(according to model we have developed for deepening the aspects of cultural matrixes that are at the base of the Historical Self); all of this, probably, also for the involvement of different prestigious Club Services and Cultural Associations.

The projects have to privilege a pluri-discipline and intercultural dimension


Since its debut, in 1995, the Itinerant Seminar "L'Immaginario Simbolico" has tried to realize a set that facilitated the meeting among schools of thought, scientific affiliations and different cultural worlds.  The fourth edition, realized in 1998, subtitled «From Mothya to Carthage - "On the Rout of the Phoenicians"», has represented the prototype of the direction toward which “the multicultural soul” of "L'Immaginario Simbolico

aims to develop itself. The last Itinerant Seminar, in September 2005,  has particularly succeeded in further  expanding the interlacement among belonging, knowledge and cultural worlds, calling to participate in the Seminar, and to conduct it, academic psychologists, psychoanalysts and group-analysts and, besides, educationists, administrators of local government unities, pedagogues, archaeologists, environmentalists, historicists, musical and theatre artists, poets


The necessity of a greater involvement and devolution to the 
Third Sector

The territory has to be proper empowerizzed conferring an ampler role to the Third Sector; this for three orders of factors. First of all, because the Third Sector can represent, as Jeremy Rifkin sustains (in “La rivincita della diversità”, Il Sole-24ore , Milano, 2001, p. 7), a barricade against the flourishing «fourth sector constituted by the economy submerged of the black market and of the

criminal culture». Secondarily, by means of strengthening the various local working organizations (the CSO: civil society organization) it is favoured «the reconstitution of strong local community» which are able to recover that values of the life and the social life that can contrast «the levelling of the differences caused by the globalization». Finally, because they are, generally, non-profit associations, we have the immediate flowing return on the whole local economy in opposition to the typical capitalistic speculations by the private entrepreneurial class. On the other hand, it is known that the Third Sector «refers aspects, as a great richness of subjectivity and effectiveness, tied to a complex of material and immaterial resources, fielded in terms of active solidarity, of relazionality and self-organization, of cooperative and social entrepreneurship, which makes it as a great and diffused growing reality, also characterized always by the occupational datum that expresses»  

    We have to imagine how much important can be for the whole local economy and for the valorization of the local products a suitable planning of initiatives whose objective is the development of cultural tourism (activity that doesn't imply any echo-environmental pollution), on the understanding that it has to take place in permanent form and not simply in a transit way and on condition that the realization of projects is submitted to non-profit social co-operatives: they would open above all numerous occupational opportunities for the youngest generations.

The young people's involvement

Today, it appears more and more difficult to find a genuine involvement and an enthusiastic participation by young people at initiatives that don't belong to their usual "world" and "myths." Probably this is due to a wholesome distrust by whole generational brackets that feel themselves as excluded, insufficiently  valorized, parked waiting for crumbling jobs, depowerized because of the models and the ways of    

management by senior’s powerSometimes, when the context, as it has happened on the occasion of the 5° Itinerant Seminar, appears genuine, sound and opened from the relational point of view, enriching from the experiential point of view and giving equal dignity to every participant, independently of age or of social role and so on, it can happen that the young people participate numerous, get intense,  give themselves, offer their personal contribution and reaches even to proffer, without any remuneration, their professional and artistic work: for  being inside, for remarking their presence in the event, for tasting as co-protagonists a special climate, an unusual human, and free from any generational barrier, atmosphere; all together to develop a discourse, a thought, a feeling, an imaginary, sat ashore on the stones, beginning from the stones that telling us of a numinous past opens the hope of a less dark future.


The healing dimension of the cultural tourism

In our day, tourism is one of the principal sources of business for the great multinationals engaged in the mass holiday-making industry. One could enumerate many forms of diversion, relax, fun, trip which are offered to the post-modern man for interrupting the frenetic rhythm of the every day life and escaping toward a more or less place away from that where one has fixed his abode. Luckily, they are rising schools that teach the art of    

travelling, and they probably have the function to give back the pleasure of the personal discovery of the places and of the people which there lives or of the civilization that once was there settled; recuperating the pleasure in pausing, reflecting, imagining according to personal times and needs, to the feeling and the state of mind of the moment; even taking notes on that one is internally experiencing, writing a travel diary or fixing on some photos the image of that, during the journey, has strongly excited or, because no, finding the inspiration to throw down some poetic rhymes.

       A true trip is also a run inside own interiority, own past, own present, and own future; it has a strong symbolic value, therefore, it always implies a process of personal transformation, this is the reason why every time one will return there an earlier known place won’t be never like it was before; his is the reason why Mothya, selected as the place of the eternal return for our Itinerant Seminar, every time      

it appears as a new place: polyhedral as the human nature, rich of mystery as the night of the times, cathartic as the Greek tragedy, restorative as the symphonic music, romantic as every place where nature and culture are married.

The Itinerant Seminar "L'Immaginario Simbolico" is as a drug. If, before beginning, its numerous days seem too much, then, when it is about its ending, one would be liked that it never had term, one would be liked to keep on crossing together with the other participants the remaining places that would have deserved to be inserted in the programme. 
All together with the others because 


throughout six days, working  in  progress,  the  group rediscovers a sense of common comfort and unusual emotions, perhaps for the short-circuit that it creates between the roots of ours Historical Self and the contemporary world by means of the powerful stimulus of the suggestive places which are worthy for the meeting.
L'Immaginario Simbolico", in many of the moments that characterize it, offers a dimension that has contemporarily something magic and sacral. Also because, as a kind and creative lady wrote me, the participation in the Itinerant Seminar gives “the feeling of a secluded community and rich in mysticalness” that offers the way of experiencing a sense of a particular well being. I answered her: if we had succeeded, through the activation of the "imaginal" world, to deeply "touch" her, to make feeling the soul and if all that had succeeded in making her to be well, we was very happy: because her feeling was the most beautiful reward for ours not-light labours!


Credits: Comune di Marsala, Comune di Calatafimi, Comune di Castelvetrano, Soprintendenza per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali della Provincia di Trapani ,
A. USL N.9 di Trapani,
Associazione Medico-Chirurgica Lilybetana,
Centro Siciliano Sturzo di Palermo, Fondazione Whitaker Palermo,
Rotary Club di Marsala, Sporting Club Marsala, Azienda agricola biologica Titone, Cantine Carlo Pellegino.


This writing is contemporarily published on this web-site and
on the magazine
 "Il Vomere"

See some videos about 5° Seminario Itinerante



01 January 2006©


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