Research activities

Implementing the research programming instruments provided for in the CNR's Organisational and Operating Regulations, in art. 21 (ex art. 42 of the previous regulation), the institute organizes its activities in project areas and projects as required by art. 24 (ex Article 44) of that regulation.

The research lines that replace the orders required by the previous order are shown below.

Coordinator: Gabriella Corona

Abstract. The project aims to analyze the processes through which the current environmental problems have been configured in a long time span that starts from the nineteenth century and reaches today. The specific objective is to identify the causes and effects on the territory and on the economic-social system of changes due to ecological imbalances produced by a series of historical phenomena that have taken on a particular periodical value for environmental changes. The studies, while focusing on Italy and the Mediterranean countries, elaborate interpretative schemes and reading keys that assume a general value. We analyze the relationship between the structural characteristics of the territory (altimetry, hydrographic systems, soil quality, seismicity) and the impact of phenomena such as urbanization and industrialization, the decline of common goods and the advent of a full property regime, the displacement of the population and land grabbing, the historical role of public policies and the coordination between the three levels of planning: urban planning, landscape, naturalism. The analyses are conducted with an interdisciplinary approach involving historians, economists and geographers.

Objectives. The purpose of the project is to develop and extend the most recent studies on the impact that unbalanced and excessive exploitation of human resources has on the environment and conversely on the social economic system connected to it. The works aim to obtain publications in prestigious national and international journals. Through the research, the goal is also to consolidate ISSM's presence in the international network of active centres on the subject and to strengthen contacts with local public institutions in order to offer advice and support in policy choices. The project intends to respond to the growing needs of the public and the scientific community in identifying development and growth paths that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Activities. The research activities planned are many: data collection and processing; study of the processes of the transformation of the relationship between man and environment in a historical perspective that dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth century with raids in previous centuries, and reaches up to today; analysis of the intertemporal use of environmental resources such as water, soil, coasts, seas; interpretation and study of the spill-over effects on the current systems of processes and phenomena of great historical dimension that have taken on a particular periodical and discontinuity value compared to the past, such as energy transition and the advent of urban industrial systems, the development of new chemical products and mechanization.

Themes. The themes that refer to the research project have as common denominator the study of the implications on the environmental balance of processes that involve a strong discontinuity in the relationship between man and nature, between society and the environment. Many research activities of the project will be the natural development of previous projects that represent the research capital of the ISSM in this area and that have focused over the last few years on the reconstruction of the processes through which the environmental problems of today have occurred. Among these processes, some have received limited attention, especially by the scientific literature that analyses phenomena in a long-term perspective and it is on their study that the themes of the project are outlined. In specific terms, these are: 1) The environmental implications of urban ecosystems: pollution, waste disposal, distorted exploitation of the subsoil. 2) The relationship between the structural characteristics of the territory (altitude, hydrographic systems, soil quality, seismicity) and the impact on the ecosystem caused by urbanization and industrialization. 3. the environmental and social implications of the decline in common goods and forms of collective use of natural resources. 4) The identification and role of environmental policies in slowing down habitat destructive processes and environmental balances. 5) The environmental impacts of the processes linked to the introduction of the market economy in some parts of south-eastern Europe. 6) Sustainable models of use of natural resources in production systems, with particular regard to the adoption of low carbon transition and ecological agriculture. 7) Links between the protection of cultural heritage and landscape protection and problems related to the difficult institutional coordination between the three levels of planning: urban, landscaping and naturalistic planning.

Main collaborations. The research group permanently cooperate with Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society di Monaco; Dipartimento di Culture Politica e Società dell’Università di Torino; Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche, Università di Catania; Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agrari, Alimentari e Forestali dell’Università, Firenze; il Centro Studi Interdipartimentale “Territorio, Salute e Ambiente”, Università di Catania; Istituto di Storia e Scienze Sociali, Roma; “Meridiana. Rivista di Storia e Scienze Sociali”.

Main collective products. As far as collective products are concerned, the editorial activity which gives rise to the "Global Environment" will continue. A Journal of Transidisciplinary History", the six-monthly international magazine promoted and produced within the Institute in collaboration with the Rachel Carson Center of Munich and published by the English publisher Whitehorse Press.

Coordinator: Salvatore Capasso

Abstract. The Mediterranean is an area of relations between countries with strong differences in growth, economic development and democracy. Therefore, as in a microcosm, the Mediterranean region reflects the great challenges of the new millennium: demographic growth, unemployment, migration, reform of welfare policies, the fight against poverty, the effects of climate change, conflict management for the control of natural resources on the southern and eastern side of the basin. Institutions and the quality of governance play a central role in addressing these challenges because corruption, rent positions, the presence of a public administration incapable of guaranteeing transparency, equity and equal social and gender opportunities, hinder growth and socio-economic development in all Mediterranean countries. The economic crisis of the last decade has put at risk the mechanisms of internal EU cohesion and highlighted the limits of non-inclusive economic growth in the countries of the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean. The research project is part of the ongoing debate on the need to rethink governance in the Mediterranean, with particular reference to Community policies, reduction of territorial gaps and security.

Objectives. The objective of the project is to study the processes of institution building and their functioning. The aim is therefore to analyse with an interdisciplinary approach the political and institutional reforms in the Mediterranean countries, social and territorial cohesion policies and the governance of migration processes. In order to identify the factors that underlie migratory movements in the regional context, we intend to deepen the study of demographic transition, the labour market, welfare reform policies and poverty reduction. The issue of poverty in the Mediterranean will be analysed not in a strictly economic sense, but as an exclusion from opportunities (education, employment, health protection) which affects transversally territorial areas, social groups and less protected categories, such as young people and women. A key topic of research is the analysis of the role of the environment in development processes. Climate change, soil degradation and water scarcity are factors that affect the growth prospects of the countries in the area, the living conditions of the poorest and most vulnerable populations, and feed migratory flows. A geopolitical focus is devoted to natural resource management policies and the conflict between North Africa and Middle East countries in relation to the strategic objective of water and food security.

Activities. Collection and processing of socio-economic data on the countries of the Mediterranean basin; studies on the transformations of the Mediterranean economies in historical and contemporary perspective; framework of European cohesion policies; analysis of the evolution of the European Union's Euro-Mediterranean policy; research on demographic, political and economic transition in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East; study of the socio-economic and cultural impact of migration in the Mediterranean area; studies on environmental governance with emphasis on climate change and strategies to prevent and combat environmental risks; geopolitical focus on conflicts to managenatural resources in relation to the strategic objective of water and food security.

Themes. In the last few decades, economists, historians and geographers have debated, at different levels, the fundamental role that institutions and governance processes have on market balances and the allocation of resources in the economic system (see Putnam, 1993; La Porta et al. 1999 among many others). Differences in the institutions and processes with which they are organised can help to explain the economic and social gaps in many countries. This is notably true for the countries bordering the Mediterranean, where there are considerable differences in the institutional structure. Starting from the study of institutional contexts, the project aims to define and outline the differences in the Mediterranean countries through the study of specific themes. These are political structures and market balances; internationalization, innovation and entrepreneurship; human capital and migration; social cohesion and welfare policies; Euro-Mediterranean partnership and strengthening of territorial governance; geopolitics of resources.

Contacts and collaborations. Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Istituto di Studi sulla Politica Internazionale (ISPI), Centro Studi Politica Internazionale (CeSPI), Università degli Studi di Salerno, Università di Bari, Università di Catanzaro, Università degli Studi Tor Vergata, Università degli Studi Federico II, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Sudi e Ricerche per il Mezzogiorno (SRM), École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde Méditerranéen (IPEMED), Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), Institut de la Mediterranée (IeMed), Economic Research Forum (ERF).  Partecipazione a network di ricerca sul Mediterraneo: Forum Euroméditerranéen des instituts de Sciences Economiques (FEMISE), EuroMeSCo (the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission), Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN), Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI), Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo (UNIMED), Federazione Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile e la Lotta contro la Povertà nel Mediterraneo-Mar Nero (FISPMED).

Main collective research products. Annual publication of the Report on Mediterranean Economies; biennial publication of the Report on the Mediterranean Economies in collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM); creation of a database on Mediterranean countries in collaboration with the UfM and the Euro-Mediterranean Forum des Instituts des Sciences Economiques (FEMISE).

Coordinator: Paola Avallone

Abstract. The project aims to provide alternative interpretative keys to the failure in overcoming the socio-economic gaps between poor and rich areas, both within individual countries and between the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean. Despite the persistence of long term functional links and the interweaving of historical and economic paths, these areas tend not to converge. It is therefore a question of understanding the differences in the socio-economic development processes of a territory that, by geographical extension, was and remains the meeting point of numerous cultural, political, religious and economic identities. The analyses carried out will be multidisciplinary and will use methodologies specific to the historical, social and economic sciences. Both the gaps between countries and between areas within a single country will be analyzed. In this direction particular attention will be given to the study of Southern Italy.

Objectives. The aim of the project is to grasp the differences in socio-economic development between countries in an area which, due to its geographical position, was and remains the meeting point of numerous cultural, political, religious and economic identities. Based on numerous studies on economic and social development, the research intends to identify common characteristics and aspects of dissonance in the dynamics of growth and development of the countries bordering the Mediterranean and to propose new interpretative models. The research activities will intersect different methods of investigation: historical, economic and social, and will also concern both the interrelationships between countries and the interrelationship between areas within the same country. Particular attention will be given to the study of Southern Italy.

Activities. The activities will concern: the analysis of local historical processes for the construction of the southern Italian territory; studies of the ways of life and cultural traditions of Italian communities living in other countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean; determination of public health and charitable interventions in the Mezzogiorno from the late Middle Ages to the pre-unitary period; analysis of the role of credit in the economic development of the Pre-unitary Southern Italy; the analysis of educational institutions as a privileged place in which human capital is built; studies of sites and  the promotion of the material and intangible cultural heritage for the enhancement of Euro-Mediterranean regions in terms of economic development.

Themes. Treating a multiplicity of aspects, the project aims to analyze the complex events of the economic and social development of Southern Italy and other disadvantaged areas of the Mediterranean in relation to their relationship with the richest areas and with the Mediterranean as a whole, applying historical, economic and social methods. Specifically, the project intends to analyze in depth the following themes: 1)  the transformation of institutions in the long term, with particular attention to regional realities and social, economic and territorial identities; 2) the processes of modernization of productive sectors and market structure; 3) human resources, innovation and labour market; 4) gender studies on geographical, economic and cultural mobility; 5) the maintenance and enhancement of the historical-cultural heritage of cities as a driving force for the economic development of certain geographical areas (collective memory, cultural identity of Mediterranean cities; representation, organization, promotion of historic city centres).

Contacts and collaborations. Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Istituto Banco Napoli – Fondazione (Napoli), Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici (Napoli), Università degli Studi S. Orsola Benincasa (Napoli), Università degli Studi di Napoli – L'Orientale, Università degli Studi del Molise (Campobasso), Università degli Studi di Cassino, Università degli Studi di Bari, Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa), Fondazione - Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica "Francesco Datini" (Prato), Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e di Ravenna (Bologna), Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Europei e Mediterranei dell'Università di Trieste (CISEM), École des Hautes études en sciences sociales françaises (EHEES) (Roma), Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme (MMSH) (Aix-en-Provence), National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) (Atene), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Spagna); Museo del Mare (Bagnoli – Napoli); Museo del Mare di Bagnoli; Istituto Centrale per i Beni sonori ed audiovisivi (Roma); Institute of History, State and Law of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova (Chisinau - Moldova); Associazione Forum Scuole Storiche di Napoli.

Main collective research products. Essays in collective volumes; participation in projects, in collaboration with national and international institutions, such as "La Corona de Aragón en el Mediterráneo bajomedieval. Interculturalidad, mediación, integración y transferencias culturales", "Aspetti politici e commerciali dei principati rumeni e dei regni italiani fino al 1860: una comparazione tra l'area Moldava e il Mezzogiorno italiano", "Ponti culturali tra Italia e Argentina, 1880-1955", "Migrazione, famiglia e sistema di relazioni sociali tra Africa e Sud Europa", "Campus Activiti – Attrattori culturali e tecnologie informatiche per la valorizzazione interattiva e il turismo innovativo”, "La Scuola va a bordo"; Organization of the’ Seminar of Doctoral Studies : History and Economics of  Mediterranean Countries’.

Coordinator: Maria Rosaria Carli

External financing: no

Keywords: governance, logistics, supply chain


Over the last twenty years, maritime and port logistics have undergone profound organisational and management changes as a result of the enormous growth in demand and technological innovations in the field of transport and information technology. In this context, public institutions have been called upon to radically reorganise the mechanisms of governance and the ways in which they interact with the business world.
At the same time, the competitiveness of a port is increasingly linked to the competitiveness of the entire logistics and transport chain, to which the port belongs, and therefore to the capacity of the chain to guarantee fast, reliable and competitively priced transport services (and any additional services). The main actors (public: Port Authorities, Harbour Offices, Customs Agency; private: shipowners, terminal operators, shipping companies, shipping agencies, logistics operators, road haulage companies) are involved in this path of change that requires the organization, management and integrated resolution of decision-making processes.

Coordinator: Michele Colucci


The research activity aims to investigate the phenomenon of migration starting from the methodology and tools of history, with particular attention to the contemporary age. Deepening the historical dimension of migratory phenomena allows to give back with greater depth the way in which societies have been invested by the impact of territorial mobility. The space from which the research activity moves is that of the Mediterranean basin, with particular attention to the role of Italy, considered as a place of departure, arrival, transit, return of migratory experiences. The migratory phenomena that are mostly taken into consideration are:

  • the flows coming from the Mediterranean and directed towards continental Europe and transoceanic destinations, considering the season of colonialism, the great migrations of the late modern age, the mass migrations of the contemporary age
  • flows within the Mediterranean area, both those within regions and states and those due to the movement from the south to the north of the Mediterranean or between neighbouring countries
  • immigration from outside the Mediterranean, with particular attention to the migratory phenomena developed in the period from the end of the Second World War to the present day
  • return migrations, conceived in their most extensive meaning and therefore not as simple returns to the homeland but as real migratory experiences

Objectives and activities

The framework within which the research activity is proposed is oriented towards convergence in an integrated perspective of the study of different migratory phenomena, which over time have often appeared side by side in the same places. The case-study of the Mediterranean countries (both north and south) is in this regard extremely rich in cues and perspectives, especially in the years between the mid-twentieth century and today, since in countries such as Italy but also Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, emigration, internal migration and return migration coexist and stratify simultaneously. Within the deepening of the different migratory flows, particular emphasis is placed on the dynamics related to the impact of migration from the point of view of policies and the labour market. The objectives in summary can be traced back to 5 horizons:

  • to strengthen research on the origins, evolution, transformations and impact of migration through the publication of journals, essays, monographic volumes, collective works, research reports, works published in a digital environment, participation in dictionaries and encyclopaedias, school and university manuals, and specialist works reserved for professional categories.
  • Stimulate research on the history of migration by promoting and organizing national and international conferences, higher education schools, doctoral courses, seminars, volume presentations.
  • include the history of migration within the training for public officials, social workers, trade union officials, employees of private companies interested in the topic for professional reasons
  • to promote the dissemination and dissemination of scientific content in wider public contexts such as libraries, schools, festivals, museums, mass media such as radio, television, web, online social platforms
  • cooperate actively with national and international research institutions such as universities, public and private bodies, foundations, etc.


The issues addressed can be traced back to eight strands:

  • The history of foreign immigration in Italy, with particular regard to the period between 1945 and the present day.
  • internal migration in Italy and the Mediterranean countries: analysis, evolution, specificity, caesuras and continuity from the modern age to the present day
  • emigration from Italy and southern Europe to foreign countries at the same time: flows, policies, work, origins and consequences
  • the history of migration and mobility in the Mediterranean from antiquity to the present: the construction of routes and approaches in the long term
  • urbanization, cities, settlement and transformations in the context of the Mediterranean in contemporary age
  • international migration and global dimension at the same time
  • migrations and the history of work in contemporary age
  • the history of migration policies in contemporary age


The working group has numerous collaborations with institutions, research bodies, universities, foundations, we only remember some of them:

Master in Immigration and public reception and integration policies University Federico II of Naples, Cultural Processing Centre MoMi (Mobility and Migration) University L'Orientale of Naples, Fondazione Centro Studi Emigrazione, Società Italiana di Storia del Lavoro, Department of linguistic-literary, historical-philosophical and legal studies University of Tuscia, Alsos Foundation, National Museum of Italian Emigration, Italian and European Forum of immigration research, Altreitalie Centre, Migrantes Foundation, Dedalus Cooperative, Association of Legal Studies on Immigration, Libraries of Rome, Golinelli Foundation, Forensic Union for Human Rights, Mitecube Srl, Italian Society of Historical Demography, Italian Association of Population Studies, Department of Political Science University Federico II of Naples, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences University L'Orientale of Naples, Department of Civilization and Forms of Knowledge University of Pisa, Laboratory of History of Migration University Modena and Reggio Emilia, National Institute Ferruccio Parri - Network of Institutes for the History of Resistance and Contemporary Age.

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