Appropriation and Gendered Spaces

A Discussion on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels


  • Sernaz Arslan



Elena Ferrante’s series Neapolitan Novels (2011-2014) has been characterized as a female bildungsroman that begins in 1950s Naples. It follows the lives of two protagonists, Lenù (Elena) Greco and Lila (Raffaella) Cerullo, from childhood to old age as they struggle to figure out what they want/need to be/become by challenging the dominant gender roles and power relations embedded in the society. Within the framework of Gillian Rose and Doreen Massey’s theoretical conceptualizations regarding space, this article aims to discuss appropriation of urban space from a gendered perspective as presented through the Neapolitan Novels and in Ferrante’s Naples. Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels not only portray the personal transformation of the main characters Lenú and Lila, but also, their practices of urban appropriation, their relationship with the neighbourhood they live in along with the transformation of Naples as a socially constructed space itself. 

Author Biography

Sernaz Arslan

Sernaz Arslan is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at Istanbul Bilgi University, where she is also a research assistant in the Department of International Relations. Her research focuses on how rural to urban migrants belonging to different generations experience and practice urban citizenship in Istanbul. She is engaged in generational analysis with qualitative research methods, particularly the narrative approach. Her areas of interest include urban politics and history, urban narratives, spatial participation, gender studies and social policy.


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How to Cite

Arslan, S. (2022). Appropriation and Gendered Spaces: A Discussion on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. Writingplace, (6), 55–68.