The paper proposes an analysis of the social transformations that have been taking place in the city of Taranto since the 1960s up to present days, through the sociological interpretation of novels about the city. Alongside the literary sources, the authors make use of biographical narratives, gathered during an empirical research on the relationship between the city and the Ilva steel industry. By relating excerpts from narrative interviews and literary accounts, they trace the outlines of a factory-city heavily conditioned by internal colonialism. By showing the hiatus between hetero and self-descriptions of Taranto, the authors hint at the different representations of the city over time: the Sixties and Seventies as the epoch of the development utopia; the Eighties and Nineties as the era in which the city begins to perceive the crisis but is not yet willing to admit it; the last two decades as a period in which scientific and juridical evidences lead to a radical change of the narrative paradigm: the fairy-tale rhetoric of development turns into a tragic narration, and utopia converts into dystopia.
Keywords: Memory, development, industry, colonialism, dystopia