For several decades Naples has exemplified the deficit of legitimacy that now outstandingly mars public life in Italy and across many democracies. Drawing on ethnographic evidence from extended anthropological field research, this article examines the increasing gap between rulers and the ruled, which jeopardizes the authority, therefore legitimacy, of governance. With a focus on this major Italian city, the discussion leads to the conclusion that this gap and its ramifications are a substantial threat to democracy that urgently needs to be understood in depth and comprehensively, eschewing both conceptual superimposition and ideological bias organic
to vested interests.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited