Edenic Views in Wetland Conservation: Nature and Agriculture in the Fogliano Area, Italy

Paolo Gruppuso* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The article explores the genealogy of Edenic narratives about the Pontine Marshes in Agro Pontino, Italy, and
the imaginary of the Bonifica Integrale (integral reclamation). This process of reclamation, implemented by the
fascist regime throughout the 1930s, drained the Marshes transforming their ecological, economic, and social
structure. The dominant reading of Agro Pontino’s history is polarised through a dualistic view that sees the
Marshes as the realm of an almost pristine nature and the Bonifica Integrale as a life-giving event that transformed
that environment, making it cultivable and inhabitable. This view reflects a modernist understanding of time as
a series of punctuated events in a linear trajectory that leads to environmental degradation. In conservation, this
interpretation produces problematic political effects resulting in a specific approach that positions agriculture
and nature on opposite sides. The article presents ethnographic materials that challenge this view and suggests
a different approach, an ‘Anthropocene conservation’, which looks at the sustainability of the future rather than
defining an ecological baseline to restore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-408
Number of pages12
JournalConservation and Society
Issue number4
Early online date27 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • anthropology
  • conservation conflicts
  • anthropocene
  • agriculture
  • agro pontino


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