The transition process in Monteveglio: turning points

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Transition Towns is an international movement developing a systemic approach including all real and concrete actions organized by citizen in a bottom-up logic. However, the movement has until now been largely unresearched with qualitative methods and through a community psychology perspective. The Transition movement is going to have long-term effects in terms of revitalizing local economy, enhancing human relations and improving the quality of life of citizen, so it is vital that it is grounded in robust and scientifically informed conceptual frameworks like the research on new communities.We chose Monteveglio as a single case study, because it is the first and the only town in Italy absorbing transition principles in an official institutional document: resolution n. 92/2009. Firstly, we aimed to understand the role of transition in it, thus we listened to its witnesses conducting semistructured interviews, examining the documentation and doing participant observation. Secondly, we explored the limits of the transition as a community based and an institutional process. Using these multiple sources of evidence, triangulating data and maintaining a chain of evidence, we developed several lines of inquiry.The research is settled in a socio-constructionist framework, assuming that knowledge is a representation of reality and it is the outcome of the interactive process between observer and context. To make data analysis more accurate, we used a hybrid thematic analysis and coding approach. We collected both repeated patterns and isolated items, so that rival explanations became complementary to the main lines of inquiry. Transition was started in Monteveglio by one person facing the individual problem of upcoming global scenarios. The person was soon followed by a few people sharing the willingness to produce local change experimenting new approaches. Monteveglio was an optimal place to start, due to its agricultural territory, size, direct relations, natural park, cultural background and sensitivity towards environment. The Movement evolved into a “shadow”, not a structured working committee. Moreover, Transition developed two main axes: Monteveglio Città di Transizione, which enhances vertical transition, institutional processes: (inter)national projects, Council Resolution n. 92/2009, strategic partnership with Transition Network; Streccapogn, which improves horizontal transition, community processes: raising social inclusion through the revitalization of local economy, especially agriculture. Vertically, relations suffer from intergroup conflicts due to different identities and interests. Horizontally, relations bear group dynamics and intragroup conflicts, as there are unconscious dynamics (anti-community) that community activates to resist its own changes.Community resistances can be recognized and analyzed to reach a proactive community development. Indeed, education to relations turns into education to communication, which is the core of community development. We notice a need for mediation and facilitation in interpersonal communication, which requires psychosocial training and inner transition. Finally, in order to scale up Transition into an institutional size, we need to overcome resistance of national policies and laws. This can be done introducing institutions to a Transition vision and solving conflicts related to social identities. We firmly believe community psychologists have the potential to contribute a lot.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2014
EventCommunity Psychology in the current world: challenges, limits and practices - University of Fortaleza, Cearà, Brasil, 3-6 September 2014
Duration: 3 Nov 2014 → …


ConferenceCommunity Psychology in the current world: challenges, limits and practices
Period3/11/14 → …


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