Spring 2015 Philosophy of Italian Culture Class Notes 1

From Alfino
Jump to: navigation, search

Return to Philosophy of Italian Culture


JAN 13

1st Day of Class Information

  • Websites in the course
  • Course Website: Alfino.org -- courses -- Spring 2015 Philosophy of Italian Culture -- access grading schemes, ereserves (pdfs of readings), audio files, email.
  • Course Wiki: Alfino.org -- wiki -- Ethics (or from course website). All course information is linked from the course wiki page.
  • Assignments for your grading schemes.
  • Grading approach -- friendly grading curve.
  • Two rubrics: Flow/Content and Flow/Logic/Insight

The Prep Cycle

  • Read for class. Get main ideas. Show reading knowledge on quiz. (Content portion of class.)
  • Come to class. Build on knowledge, add interpretive issues, and develop arguments for analysis. (Method portion of class.)
  • Note study questions and work to answer them during class. (We will do some short answer exercises to work on this.) Review if you don't feel you can answer the study questions after class. The Flow/Content rubric applies to this.
  • Repeat.
This is our basic pattern, but as we learn more we will build toward larger theoretical questions and questions allowing for interpretation and analysis, which are the basis of the exam essays and paper.

JAN 15

Gilmour, Chapter 13, Modern Italy

Centrifugal Italy

  • Constitution 1948, post-fascist sensitivity towards need of decentralisation; 5 special regions
  • Multiple layers of government: 1970, 15 ordinary regions, 100+ provinces, 8000 municipalities - increased buraucracy and expenses
  • 1990s demand for autonomy and fiscal federalism; conflict Northern entrepreneural interests and Centralised taxsystem
  • Northern League 1991, original secessionist and xenophobic tendencies currenlty play out in anti-euro and anti-immigration programs
  • anti-fascist parties, the former President Ciampi evoced the Unification, allegedly admitting "that unification had not build a nation" (373)
  • No attention to the Risorgimento in the collective imaginary. Many do not know the commemorative street names.


  • Milanese entrepreneur, speculates in commercial TV and soccer, elected prime minister in 1994, 2001, 2008
  • benefitted from disintegration of traditional parties following the 1992 Tengentopolic scandal
  • No program but promises of tax cuts, free market and "liberation" from communism
  • uneasy centre-right coalitions with Norrthern League and National Alliance
  • Investigsted for. corruption (condemned for fiscal fraud and politically disgraced in 2013)
  • Left-wing governments lead by Romani Prodi and Massimo D'Alema presented no real opposition, lacking legislation on media ownership and conflict of interest
  • Power of TV campaign, promises of jobs, pensions and reduced crime rates, bring B back in power in 2001 and 2008 despite failure to deliver and legal cases
  • criticised by the Economist (background for Girlfriend in a coma)
  • spoke to voters as a seducer and a self-made-man, identification in success and sins, l'arte d' arrangiarsi
  • Political vocation as solution to protect media monopoly and escape convictions (l18 leggi ad personam by 2010; 384);
  • Censorial control over state TV; conflict with critical journalists
  • Denigration of magistrates and decriminalisation of offences; closed protracted cases and appeal to legal immunity
  • Resurgence of organised crime during B' leadership (against the efforts of Falcone and Borsellini)
  • Estsblished Southern mediators to the Mafia like former Prime Minister Andreotti (Dell'Utri condemned and imprisoned in 2014)

Resilient Italy

  • decrease in birth rates and GDP, increasing corruption, illegal construction: avarice and fraud not defeated by operation Clean Hands
  • Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano
  • Citizens indignated by complicated tax regulations and extravagances of untrustworthy politicians
  • weaknesses in the national character: amoral, no sense of service, no national identity
  • Familismo, as a deep cultural feature and "sign of social cohesion". Banfield, amoral familialism. 395. Nepotism: family and work relationships.
  • Campanilismo - communal loyalty and belonging; limiting but also a source to reassurance and sense of identity 396
  • positive attitudes about EU, 391.

Themes for Discussion

  • Devolution as a relationship between culture and politics. note p. 369
  • Defining "regionialism"
  • Map showing regions and provinces [1]
  • Comparison of Italian parliamentary salaries to average salaries [2].
  • First look at North South divide.

JAN 20

Emmett and Piras, "Girlfriend in a Coma"

  • Truth - Saviano at 11:40, goes to question of critique of culture.
  • Corruption -
  • Organised crime/control of territory
  • Economy
  • Politics - repeats criticism of left for not reigning in Berlusconi; "l'inciucio"; 21:30: media concentration facts.
  • Bad capitalism
  • ILVA
  • Gender inequality: 39:00
  • Progetto sud, Calabria
  • GOEL Women in Calabria
  • Ferrero
  • Slow-food movement
  • Critique of confession
  • No sense of the state
  • Brain-drain
Clips 11
  • 30, Saviano, timeline 1:18timeline, Viroil 1:22

JAN 22

Storey, "What is Popular Culture?"

  • Culture: development across time in major areas of human production (intellectual, artistic...); a way of life; meaning work or knowledge work
  • Ideology: various senses 2-3
  • note descriptive vs. interpretive (alleging concealment or disfunction); "false consciousness"
  • Marx: base and superstructure
  • "ideological forms"
  • Althusser important to popular culture theory: Note model p. 4

Nanda and Worms, The Idea of Culture

  • Wild children as window into culture.
  • Key concepts: "learned behaviors"; symbols; shared and transmitted; potentially adaptive(?); dynamic.
  • Explore some of the models on page 87.
  • Learned behaviors. - define who is member of the community, identity within a community. Example for comparison: child rearing practices.
  • Culture and personality (91)
  • Cultural symbols as "maps" of reality -- Dorothy Lee example about trees.
  • Cognitive anthropology
  • Medical anthropology
  • Key Dimensions on which theories of culture vary:
  • Holism vs. Instability/Conflict -- some "systems" seem universal: kinship, food, politics. But culture might be thought of as a fundamental scene of conflict.
  • Share values? Do we share values? To what degree? Cultures include subcultures, tolerated in various degrees.
  • Adaptation
  • Sources of Change: innovation, diffusion

JAN 27

Richerson and Boyd, "Culture is Essential"

  • South and North US on violence.
  • Nisbett and Cohen, Culture of Honor: Explanation in terms of cultural beliefs about honor.
  • greater violence in south, but specific to categories (arguments with acquaintances) where honor is at stake
  • survey evidence: 2
  • Experiment with confederate insulter !
  • Details: ScotsIrish livestock hereders in South Dutch peasant farmers in north. pastoralists vs. agriculturalists.
  • Why would pastoralists cultivate a distinctive culture of honor?
  • culture of orign has weak state institutions
  • disputes need to be settled interpersonally; based on perception of willingness to use violence.
  • Definition of Culture: Information capable of affecting an individuals' behavior that they acquire from other member of their species through teaching, imitation, and other forms of social transmission.
  • characteristics of the definition: social learning, social transmission, signaling theory (see wiki), information theoretic. Note this is not inherently an evolutionary view, though learning theory is an area of evolutionary psychology and cognitive anthropology.
  • Kroeber's "super-organic" -- culture and experience matter AND they are independent of biology. (Note how this fits dualist thinking.) B&R: Kroeber is wrong about second part. Culture is continuous with biology bot. 7. Refers to recent evolutionary theory in learning and communication: signaling theory, parenting and mating.
  • Key theoretical ideas in this viewpoint:
  • Genes give us not only traits, but psychological mechanisms that will deploy differently in different environments.
  • Culture is not reducible to environment or biology, but represents a distinct source of evolutionary processes that interact with both. Ex. of cultural approach to medicinal value of bitter plant. 11
  • Culture is adaptive (for B&R) because the behavior of others is rich source of information about adaptive behaviors. Imitation is important.
  • Cultural processes can favor behaviors (through status rewards, for example) that are not favored by gene selection. (ex. being a priest, working hard instead of having a family)
  • Cutlural variation exists at the group level (in dispute, but something B&R believe): if groups that promote solidarity out compete groups that don't, a capacity for solidarity will be selected.
  • Meta-theory dispute in both chapters:
  • Competition among biological, environmental, and cultural explanation. Views emphasizing the first two could include claim that culture is not a factor at all. Hence B&R's need to argue that it is an essential level.
  • Everyone is an interactionist in principle (bio/env/culture), but evidence is needed to isolate the claims of each.
  • Note explanatory goal: to explain why some beliefs and attitudes spread and persist while others disappear. Population level consequences of imitation and teaching.

Bowman, "Introduction: Two Kinds of Honour"

  • People will stand up for themselves; learned, universal behavior, public demand not to lose face stronger than the ideal of avoiding conflict
  • Utopian vision of Honour-based hitting back as bellicist attitude in the wake of 1918; seen in opposition to pacifism; peace considered natural human condition and conflict rooted in pathological, curable, causes
  • Left: conflict evidence of political and diplomatic failure, Right: justifies war, never as question of national honour 3; Iraq war, attack on Hussain could be considered a warning about what US would do to defend its honour
  • Honour (group); good opinion of people who matter to us, equals who will judge our behaviour; tend to form around male-dominated corporate enterprises 4
  • Loyalties to family unit may conflict with those to larger communities (NOTE: Familism, nepotism)
  • Principles may conflict with family loyalties
  • 19th-Century Europe/US: Local quality of honor obscured by:
  • idea of patriotism following nation state formations and by modernisation of traditional honour, removed from aristocratic elite and fusion of ethics and honour in ideal of Christian gentleman
  • Both forms weakened following 1918 as honor itself fell into disrepute 5
  • NOTE: Leopardi discusses Italians' lack of honor in "Discorso sopra lo stato presente dei costume degl'Italiani"(1824) 54, 57
  • Unlike morality, honour depends on social context, but does not vary randomly from group to another, values vary but honour rather constant, 5social context, but does not vary randomly from group to another, values vary but that to which we pay honour rather constant, 5
  • Reflexive honour: human condition; at stake everywhere there is fighting; bravery vs chastity, still lives beneath surface of popular culture within which it is superficially erased (NOTE: gender relations, Rocco e i suoi fratelli. feminicidio)
  • Cultural honour: specific to a certain society (e. g. the Vitorican, Christian gentleman)
  • Decline in cultural honor in the West have changed perceptions of violence; no longer distinction right-wrong use of violence
  • Honour survived in survives only in degraded forms
  • Post honour culture
  • While honour has been fading in the West since 1920s, today's paradigm framed by Vietnam (evident in current difficulty in recruiting to army) 7,
  • Perceptions of honor in pacifism; anti-war subculture legitimised escape from test of manhood, sense of guilt of non-servers, haunted by ghost of honour 9
  • Presidential election 2004 (Bush Kerry), rivalry in honour related to service in Vietnam.
  • Public men and women are judged according to standards of honour, we all aspire to good opinion,
  • We are victims of the illusion that we benefit from the "cultural evolution that has finally left behind [...] notions of honour" 9-10
  • War on terrorism, debate on moral Progress, wars are rarely fought for moral principles,
  • defeat of Nazism rested on imperative of reflexive honour; people's sense or honour as threatened by Germany and Japan 10
  • Story of discrediting and disappearance of word of honour told in 20th c. Popular culture

JAN 29

Richerson & Boyd, "Culture Exists" 19-39

  • complains again that so many discipines (economics and psychology now) don't consider culture enough.
  • Three possible proximate causes of variation:
  • Genes
  • Environment
  • Culture - social transmission of information affecting behavior from learning or imitation.
  • How can we determine if culture has an independent role in variation?
  • Thought experiment: Imagine some Eskimos and Trobriand Islanders switched places.
  • Natural experiments:
  • Illinois farmer from different ethnic backgrounds. "Freiburg" (German-Catholic) vs. "Libertyville" (Yankee) -- diffs p. 22
  • related studies of same environment, different background
  • Nuer Conquest of Dinka (one the most famous early ethnographic studies - Evans Pritchard). Cultural difference bt. Neur and Dinka, if env determined culture, the Neur would become like the Dinka as they took over. But rather, more the opposite. (Discuss other examples of dominant cultures. English everyone?)
  • Edgarton's study of East African tribes in diverse environments. tribe rather than environment predicted differences from survey questions.
  • Greely on Italian Americans - showed convergence of Irish and Italian from low to higher Anglo norms on civic participation.
  • Putnam, "Making Democracy Work: Civil Traditions in Modern Italy" (later course reading): natural experiment measuring response to devolution from 1970s. identifies historic political cultures as predictive (retrodictive) factors.
  • Technology is Culture --- discuss. note how technology changes environment and gene expression (lactose and animal agriculture).
  • Counter hyposthesis: Maybe social environment rather than culture is the determining factor. (self perpetuating behaviors cause by institutions and status opportunities in the social environment)
  • strong version: self-policing games of coordination (driving on the right side of the road) -- the information is in the behaviors and institutions (and reward/punishment), not individuals.
  • weak version: we learn how to behave from each other. R&B think this makes imitative social learning a form of culture. maybe...discuss.
  • second response to counter hypothesis: Cultures often reappear after suppression. examples p.32 - note Russian mafia research.
  • General scientific consensus that genes don't directly determine behavior, but many people believe this nonetheless and it has the effect of minimizing our awareness of culture.
  • Yet, personality, traits and attitudes are heritable. introversion-extroversion.
  • Dialect variation is an example of variation not predicted by genes or family.

Diamond, "Why Do Cultures Make Such Disastrous Mistakes?"

  • Examples of Cultures that have made "big mistakes"
  • Easter Islanders: imagining the sitation. How could it really happen
  • Four main reasons:
1. Fail to anticipate the problem
2. Problem arrives, but isn't perceived
3. Problem perceived, but no effort to solve it
4. Effort to solve the problem is ineffective
1. Fail to anticipate the problem
  • ex. of Forest fires in the west
  • forgetfulness/no written records: Mayan droughts, 1973 oil crisis
  • false analogies: Viking agriculture in Iceland
2. Fail to perceive problem
  • hard to see state of soil nutrition
  • slow trends/creeping normalcry: climate change (Note: predictions for 2050, irretrievable damage)
  • distant managers
3. Failure to try to solve the problem
  • economically rational but morally unacceptable behavior: toxic waste dumping in .environment without sufficient penalties.
  • tragedy of the commons: overfishing
  • no long-term interest in preserving resources (international loggers in tropical rain-forest)
  • conflict of interests, decision making elite seek profit
  • irrational behavior
  • negative status quo is favored by values, religion or short-term motives/thinking
  • denial: research on resident's near damns; holocaust denial by WWII European Jews.
4. Ineffective efforts
  • invasive species abatement
  • rabbits in Tasmania, Australia


Storey, "Classical Marxism" from Chapter 4, "Marxisms"

  • political analysis; difference interpretation and change of the world
  • 'culture and historical conditions of production
  • historical materialism, base (forces and relations of production)/ superstructure (defines forms of social consciosuness)
  • may be considered economic determinism, Engels explains how superstructure also influence history
  • superstrcture also shaped bt interaction institutions/participants
  • necessity to universalise dominant ideas implies bust they are not imposed on subjects
  • structure/agency, 19th-Cent theatre, attendance changes in production and theatrical tradition

Kellner, "Culutral Marxism and Cultural Studies"

  • cultural ideas of an epoch serve interests of ruling class. "On their analysis, during the feudal period, ideas of piety, honor, valor, and military chivalry were the ruling ideas of the hegemonic aristocratic classes. During the capitalist era, values of individualism, profit, competition, and the market became dominant, articulating the ideology of the new bourgeois class that was consolidating its class power. "
  • ideology "smooths over" contradicts.
  • second gen Marxists (late 19th and early 20th cent) stuck with economic determinist model and search for political revolutionary moment.
  • Georg Lukacs, historicist cultural critic influenced in the 1920s by Marxist;
  • cultural forms as anchored to speciig historical ambiance which they both reflect and illuminate
  • prescriptive aesthetics;critical social realism; against the novel as a bourgeois genre
  • Ernst Bloch, identified utopianism as a consistent cultural yearning; culture provides alternative models of transformation
  • Antonio Gramsci, "The ruling intellectual and cultural forces of the era constitute a form of hegemony, or domination by ideas and cultural forms that induce consent to the rule of the leading groups in a society."
  • Thought of civil society (church, school, media and pop culture) as mediating r bt individual and state. Habermas' "Public sphere". Society combines expressions of power with processes of hegemony that create consent.
  • Hegemonic theory; critic of h. authority and formulation of counter-hegemonic forces i(cultural critique/philosophy of praxis.)
  • Frankfurt School - (first big movement of Marxism beyond economic and political analyses. Connects Marxism with existentialism, freud, sociology, psychology, anti-positivism.)
  • With Brecht, new forms of mass and personal communication. (Note how this connects with Habermas (a recent and still living rep of the school)
  • epic theatre, verfremdungseffect
  • By contrast, Adorno and Horkheimer represent a more pessimistic view of the culture industry: "They argued that the system of cultural production dominated by film, radio broadcasting, newspapers, and magazines, was controlled by advertising and commercial imperatives, and served to create subservience to the system of consumer capitalism."
  • Haberms and the Public Sphere (p. 6 - review)

British Cultural Studies

  • 60's era movement -- one of the early projects involved defending working class culture against the culture industries mass culture. Major thrust of work: analysis of a new form of capitalist hegemony in which media helped create a new subject of capitalism, the consumer, who's needs and motivations were represented as integrated with capitalism. Frankfurt school sought forms of resistance to this new "consumer capitalism" Valorized youth culture of the time as resistant, alt lifestyle and alt clothing valued.
  • Influential journal, Screen: Screen Theory: "According to screen theory, it is the spectacle that creates the spectator and not the other way round. The fact that the subject is created and subjected at the same time by the narrative on screen is masked by the apparent realism of the communicated content" (from wiki)

Postmodern Turns

  • Postmodern Marxian cultural studies recognizes yet another new phase of capitalism in global transnational corporations and the fracturing of older manufacturing base models for economy. The postmodern is characterized by a lack of traditional identifiable centers of power, lack of cultural consensus, upsetting of hegemonic culture through migration and multi-culturalism

Marx and Engels quotes

  • ruling material force and ruling intellectual force; means of material and mental production
  • lack of means of production and of consciousness implies material and mental subjectivisation
  • division of mental and material labour within the ruling class
  • historical materialism, necessity to contextualise the dominant ideas of a given period to the means of productions operation! for every ne clas will presents its interests as universal, as the common ideas of everyone
  • base/superstructure/consciosuness
  • Let's discuss these quotes together. They provide a good occasion for mentioning some of the philosophical grounds of Marxism in the 19th century thought of Hegel. Think about how these quotes presuppose claims about human nature and the nature of culture.


Gramsci, Hegemony, Intellectuals and the State

  • hegemony
  • necessity to be leading in order to win governmental power, a ruling social group leads allies and dominates enemies
  • more than power and material force; political hegemony precedes and reinforces governmental power
  • hegemony of a parliamentary regime requires force and consent: force is presented as consent and that a compromise is reached towards the ruled subjects withouth touching the essential of economic power
  • formation of consciosuness and solidarity must expand from within a professional group to the larger social class; pure politicla phase occurs when economic corporate interests of one class are understood as interest of all subordinate groups
  • struggle becomes universal when economic unison leads to moral and intellectual unity(ref La classe operaio, students and workers)
  • hegemony Is educative and transcends national boarders
  • Intellectuals
  • Operate as organisers of society; needed to create homogeneity, awareness, and favour class expansion (hegemony)
  • are created organically within all economically producing groups;
  • homofaber/homo sapiens, all men are potential intellectuals, all producers require technical qualification/creativity and engage in intellectual thinking outside professional activity
  • intellectusl functions are more elaborate within the dominant group; organic intellectuals serve slso to conquer traditional intellectuals (78)
  • dual superstructure,
  • civil society, private, hegemony,
  • political society, state, direct domination
  • intellectuals as deputies for the dominant groups and exercise subaltern functions (spontaneous consent and 'legal' enforcement of discipline) of social hegemony
  • post1789 France, harmonious development of social grouping and Intellectuals, UK discrepancy between post-industrialisation social groups while the aristocracy retains political-social supremacy
  • State
  • ethical function of raising the masses to a moral and cultural, even physical, level as needed by the productive forces for development (eg) school and courts)
  • keeps, requests and educates consent through associations privately run by the ruling class
  • bourgeois rule absorbs entire society, state becomes educator, comprises theoretical and practical activities by mena sof which the ruling class justifies, maintains and creates consent for its dominance

Storey, 'Hegemony'

  • Hegemony
  • explains absence of revolution in Western capSocieties; after 300years of radical transformations, capitalism in the 21st -Cent is internationally hegemonic;
  • does not remove but contains and channles conflict; ruling classes negotiatate and make concessions to the subordinate classes
  • emerges in negotiations and involves resistance and well as incorporation
  • in times of crisis, coercive power replaces hegemony to secure authority
  • is organised by organic intellectuals
  • within Cultural studies, "organic intellectuals" are understood as collective ideological state apparatuses (family, culture industry, education etc); popular culture is what adiences make of texts produced by the culture industries (products are negotiated and rearticolated to produce alternative meanings)

Discussion topic: can you think of ways in which culture, or formations in civil society, act hegemonicaly and counter-hegemonically?

Crehan, "Gramsci's Life and Work"

  • Gramsci's personal biography - personal difficulties, poverty, health,
  • 1911: scholarship to U in Turin.
  • 1916: abandons studies to run Avanti!
  • 1917 failed insurrection in Turin, arrest of prominent activists (Red October, part of Russian Revolution 1917-1923)
  • Gramsci, secretary of Socialist Party in Turin, editor of socialst newspaper; founds "Ordine Nuovo"; socialist paper associated with Fiat factory councils
  • 1919-1920 in Turin: sense that the Bolschevic revolution may spread across Europe, struggles in Fiat factories are defeated
  • 1921: founds Italian Communist Party - in light of experience with Turin strike, break with PSI.
  • 1922: Gramsci to Moscow for 18months.
  • 1925 Mussolini declares dictatorship
  • 1926: Party goes underground; in spite of having immunity as a parliamentarian, Gramsci is arrested
  • Prison Notebooks: circumstances, authorship, goals.
  • culture and class rooted in power relations; Marxist perspective foundamentally distinct from the later Stalinist one (21) and from determinist perspectives (22)
  • orgsnic intellectuals are specialisations of a social group's partial aspects
  • What kinds of a sociology or anthropology is Gramsci developing? (Compare to chart in Nanda and Worms)
  • clues on 19, topics of study, irony of "for eternity", critical of crude economic determinism, organicism (23), limits to generalizable theory (24) (not "man in general")
  • Discussion Topic: Can you think of examples to illustrate the idea of agents and social groups (institutions, associations)as being "organically related"? Does the idea make sense to you; how old you support or criticize it?

Film Notes

  • A few details about the film for Tuesday

FEB 10

FEB 12

Interpretive or Symbolic Anthropology

Rapport and Overling 'Thick Description'

  • Concept exemplified and launched by Geertz in 1972/3 essays
  • refocuing of anthropology from Structures to meaning (interpretative)
  • Weber, 'webs of significance', culture is symbolism, -anthropology a comparative study of culture: ethnography as inscription, thick writing
  • Gilbet Ryle, phenomenalist observations /superficial description vs layers of significance (cock-fight in Balinese culture)
  • attention to the particular, microscopic, circumstantial
  • large conclusions form textured small facts; deep analysis of underlaying conceptual structures within a given milieu
  • symbol-systems enable members to makes sense of, interprete and express meaning in a given mileu
  • anthropologists task: interpretation of members' interpretation, symbols are ambiguous and interpretations not fixed
  • scientific enterprise; objectivity and suited for theoretical generalisations
  • inscription is imaginative and fiction, incomplete and contestable
  • dual,task: uncover conceptual structures and how they determine people's acts
  • Discussion topic: consider the layers of symbolism and meaning associated with a particular culutral event (July 4, Super Bowl, the inauguration of the President): what would a thick description of this look like?

Geertz, Thick Description

  • various definitions of culture;
  • his own: Semiotic: following Weber: "man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun"
  • experimental science in search of law (note: this connects him with Boas)
  • not an operationalist, but likes idea of focusing on what anthropologists actually do: they do ethnography
  • from Gilbert Ryle: "thick description"
  • example of description of "twitching, blinking, winking, parody of winking, rehearing"
  • invokes social code, but not reducible to it.
  • Story of Cohen, the Marmusha, the mezrag, murder, sheep, the French (analogy to blinking: if you just recount events vs. significance)
  • doing ethnography is like trying to read a manuscript ...(made up of) "transient examples of shaped behavior"
  • critical of obscuring the task with abstract ideas like Durkheim's "super organic"and of Cognitive Anthropology -- not just studying the psychology or state of knowledge of a culturally competent individual.
  • aim of Anthropology: "enlargement of universe of human discourse"
  • should be actor-oriented: "cast in terms of the construction we imagine Berbers, Jews, or Frenchmen to place upon what they live through"
  • p 9: thick descriptions aren't too systematic or "neat"- coherence is limited by the actual circumstances. shouldn't overstate the formal coherence of the exchange; uncertainty (under-determined), things in the Cohen story could have gone differently.
  • the ethnographer "inscribes" or "fixes" social discourse.
  • summary statement at 11: ethnographic description (thick description) interprets the flow of social discourse from it's perishable state.
  • the kula is gone but "The Argonauts of the Western Pacific" (Malinowski's study of the kula gift exchange) remains.
  • ethnographic description is "microscopic"
  • ways that anthropologists go wrong: "jonesville-is-the-USA" fallacy -- either way its a fallacy.
  • anthropologists don't study villages, they study in villages
  • no general theory of culture
  • the essential vocation of interpretive anthropology is not to answer our deepest questions, but to make available to us answers that others, guarding other sheep in other valleys, have given, and thus to include them in the consultable record of what man has said" 16

FEB 17

The goal of today's class is to practice some symbolic ethnography using the Puglia video and the ethnographic piece on olive oil as source material.

FEB 19

Pia di Bella, Maria, "Name, Blood, and Miracles"

Honor: equilibrium of blood and name

  • background: honor theories of Mediterranean culture
  • collective honor in family line, based on chastity of women and courage of men. other characteristics 151.
  • Structural hypothesis:
  • Honor is a composite of Name and Blood, which track gendered contributions to family honor.
  • Expectations for honor vary by family and status.
  • goal: maintaining genealogical purity and reputation.
  • anecdote about how women engage in concealing of adultery in solidarity with each other, assuming it is a one-off thing.
  • phenomenon of Sicilian and Sardinian vendetta: a way of marking a challenge to family honor.
  • explains endogamy, marriage within clan and keeping the widow within the family.

Grace: equilibrium between vow and miracle

  • claims "grace" as a common cultural idea in med
  • convenant societies: see themselves maintaining a pact with god and saints. dealings with saints independent of intercession of saints with god.
  • features of grace, p. 157: read.
  • festa a Alimena: collective enactment of vow and expectation of benefit. note role of food/song. parallel activity of the men, who collect offerings of wheat on a mule.
  • "rules" governing the relationship (160-161): the devotee can be "called upon" by the saint, status of the saint measured in ex-votos (define), shrines, relics, etcs. the saint can fail the community.

  • parallels
  • management of status: social or metaphysical
  • equilibrium
  • collective dimension
  • gendered roles
  • use of ritual

FEB 24

Prideaux, Oh for a new risorgimento

  • 2011 150 years since unification,
  • sense among Northern and Southern Italians that misconceived nation has effects in the present; many thinks that the original states were too distinct to unite
  • Lega Nord major of Treviso for independence; charged with organization of clandestine army
  • burning in Veneto of Garibaldi for having "divided Africa"
  • Naples, previously the capital of large Kingdom, loss in governmental leadership
  • N-S divide left unresolved, despite charing leadership, South remains most populated and most underdeveloped country
  • past differences in institutional leadership (authoritarian vs communal) plays out in civic participation/social capital, crime and black labour today (ref Putnam, Thursday's class)
  • Counterargument against this defeatist stance:
  • France, Spain, Britain, and Germany also had monarchies but where not necessarily help back
  • Nation forged by elite, not atypical in the 1900th-Century
  • Austrian empire split up in pieces, no less a geographical expression than Italy
  • Current lack of pride might be sign of civilization, not nationalistic
  • average age is increasing
  • low labour productivity

Updated Statistics:

  • Unemployment December 2014, 12.9 %, 42% among youth (15-25); Renzi's Job's Act = national level has increased to where only Southern regions were in 2009
  • Centre-North expected to grow by 1,3%, while the South is expected to get coverer by 0,7% in 2015
  • Unemployment over past 20 years www.rischiocalcolato.it/2014/12/grafico-del-gior il Centro-nord crescerà dell'1,3%, mentre il meridione d'Italia si impoverirà ancora dello 0,7%.no-tasso-di-disoccupazione-nord-centro-e-sud-negli-ultimi-22-anni.html

Doyle, One nation

  • Multitude made Italy vulnerable to foreign and local rulers
  • Latin only common latin, connected to the church, dialects were the people's idiom
  • Italians never felt united in political unity, difference from France and Germany, identity is local, political, but not national (fiction)
  • Precedence in Napoleon’s kindgom, Italian as official language
  • Desire to be free from (mainly) Austrian rule
  • A note on Verdi
+ 1948 revolutions Milan, Genova, Rome
  • Garibaldi conquers Sicily,1860,
  • South.Centre handed over to King Emanuele II of Savoi, Torino Firenze Roma 1870, conquest of papal states
  • Language of Dante, ideals of unity, spoken by 2.5 % of population in 1861, whereas King and Cavour prefer French
  • Unification a hollow achievements, for some not inevitable
  • Language, but not a schools system, illiteracy
  • Divisions
  • industrialism vs feudalism, feudal lords not replace bu new state, but by organized crime and hunger
  • Church/State (not recognized until 1929, patti lateranesi)
  • Nationalisms:
  • Mazzini, Young Italy with visions of European identity
  • Disastrous Colonial policies to forge identity (Etiopia, 1898) war fought for nationalist purposes
  • post-WWI human causalities and few gains; unity around fascism
  • Fascism 1922-1943 (25-45)
  • Coup supported by King
  • italianità (imperialism/romanità: Etiopia, declaration of the empire in 1936, radio/films, intellectuals, leisure/sports)
  • 1938, racial laws, Italians as arian, popular rejection of racism
The First Republic: CD/PCI 1943 (46)-1993
  • Antifascist unity, solidarity, trasformismo
  • Pluralism in broadcasting. DC bought and manipulated power, anti statism, religious celebrations
  • PCI controlled certain reagions, considered honest,separation from Soviet Union, festa Dell’UNità
  • Television and Identity
  • 1950s state television: Linguistic and cultural unity; simultaneity,
  • Homogenisation, americanisation/aspirations immigrant culture
  • consumer culture/economic miracle, migration (N/S: exclusiveness in relative prosperity)
  • Beauty and design
  • Il bel paese, pursuit o beauty; postwar industrial design, democratisation in beauty
  • by 1970, identity in culture, politically blocked DC and PCI
  • The Second Republic
  • unemployment; re-emergence of socio-economic divisions
  • trasformismo and partitocracy; need of political stability
  • terrorism (neofascist and extreme left); governing coalition; compromise DC PCI
  • 1980s: corruption, clientilism “socialist” prime minister Craxi; mass investigations and arrests of parliamentarians
  • dissolution of DC and PSI, PCI becomes Democratic party
  • electoral reform, from proportional to majoritarian government formations
  • 1993, assassination of antimafia judges Borsellini and Falcone
  • from mid-1970s, private television, Mediaset, programmed to create consumers
  • Berlusconi and the TV coup d’état
  • rise to power through TV/advertising (businesses), consumer culture, soccer
  • 1994, populist, antistatist, campaign, to save himself from prosecution "Italy from communism"
  • leader of uneasy coalition with Lega Nord and postfascist AN; 2001, 2008, 2010
  • corruption, leggi ad personam, lacking reforms; bunga bunga and tax fraud conviction
  • technicratic government to istabilise economy, national debt,

FEB 26

Putnam, Explaining Institutional Performance

  • North-South division is not explained with reference to finances available: some Southern regions perform better than others, although they are poorer and some have funds that are not spent 86
  • state of institutions depends on their civic virtue
  • active participation in public affairs, enlightened self-interest - to relate I self to broader public need; Banfield, the southern mentality is to maximize benefit for the family, poverty and backwardness, larger due to inability to act for the common good 91
  • Horizontal relations of Trust, tolerance, solidarity
  • four correlated indicators:
  • Associations, collaborations, precondition for effective government
  • local newspaper coverage of community affairs
  • electoral turnout (not a neutral indicator); referendum voters act out of civic sentiments; Emilia - Romagna 89%, Calabria 60%
  • preference votes for single candidate reflect patron-client relations, in the north people vote for issues
  • programmatic vs clientilistic relations: people turn more often to political candidates, mostly for, personal Reasons, and pol is more elitist101
  • correlations between referenda of 1946 (Republic) and 1991(electoral reform)102
  • civic regions have higher degree of labour union affiliations, Church affiliation is negatively correlated with civic engagement 107
  • party affiliation is equally widespread but motivations vary and citizens in less civic regions feels powerless 109
  • civic regions foster more happy citizens 113
  • evidence contradicts Tonnies community vs society distinction 114
  • other factors prove to have proved to be of little significance

Putnam, Chapter 5, "Tracing the Roots of the Civic Community"

  • circa 1100: Italy creates two distinctive political structures:
  • South:
  • Kingdom established by Normans, building on Arab and Byzantine models of authoritarian rule. Roger II - Frederick II, monopoly of justice and largely of commerce, eclectic patronship' by end 1200s, Norman Sicily had the most highly developed bureaucracy and was the richest, most advanced and organised European state 122-3
  • autrocratic/feudal monarchy: power distributed from king to barons and townsmen; decline of Royal rule gave barons more autonomy
  • North
  • "Communal republicanism" 124, horizontal, uniqueness of communes, origins in voluntary association of solidarity, at first only the social elite was represented but comparatively high levels of popular involvement in decision making.
  • lots of post and positions (re-interp current excess of parlimentarians in light of this);
  • guilds of professional affiliation and assistance, pressure for reform and distribution of power, presence by 1250; smaller association in local affairs
  • conflict management, advocates, mediators and statesmen
  • civil community: association and mores of the Republic 126
  • mercantilism, economic growth; invention of credit to republics. depends upon trust. but also innovations in bookkeeping (double entry). Claims high level of trust from associationism and civic engagement carried over to lending.
  • relative egalitarianism: Aristocracy and poverty as well as conflict, but comparatively high social mobility and solidairty 129
  • beg of 14th century: Palermo, Florence and Venice are the largest cities in Europe.
  • Both regimes produced prosperity, efficient government, and dealt with Probelm of social order (Digress to Achemoglu thesis: Extractive vs. open institutions.)
  • 14th century: Plague, pop loss, economic disruption, despotic rulers (signori), Renaissance principates 132
  • parallel decline in integrity of communes (p. 132) Crisis of republicanism in Machiavelli -- "virtu civile" a condition of republicanism incompatible with feudalism (next week Viroli, servitude to signore)
  • M's Florence after return of the Medici 1512: The Prince a treatise about monarchical rule, but M's ideal is the Roman Republic.
  • Major claim in Figure 5: former Norman ruled Kingdom of 2 Sicilies is least civic in the 1970s. Papal states in the middle (less centralised and efficient than the Southern Kingdom)133
  • 1400-1500s, Italy a battle ground for foreign forces, Decline in North of civic republicanism by 17th century; dissolution of social fabric when the European nation states emerge
  • ethic of civic involvement passed on during depsotic period in the north, in particular Tuscany and the Po valley
  • 2nd half of 18th century saw resurgence of civic traditions in regions with historic traditions of civic engagement. (see list on 138 and, 139: mutual aid societies, coops, Social Catholicism)
  • Decline in South: saw reinforcement of vertical and autocratic social relations; Napoli populated, urban, but lacking administration 136
  • Civic traditions after Unification
  • France: decline and second growth of association in wake of the industrial revolution, political tendencies; likely that Italy saw similar trends during and following the unification
  • mutual aid societies, cooperatives, consciousness rising effects 141
  • social-Catholicism in the Northeast, political groups, Partito popolare 1919
  • strongest and most extensive in the North, aiutarella among agricultural families
  • 1880-1920: distrust and conflict among Southern peasants (143). "In the Mezorgiorno, above all, Pasquale Villari in 1883, "One feels too much the 'I' and too little the 'we'." 144.
  • bonds are vertical reinforced by private violence among the feudal nobility, Mafioso power rises as search of protection where not legitimate authority reigns, mediation between landlord and subjects 146-7
  • Identifies family crime syndicates as outgrowth of patron/client system. Sociological claim 147, that Mafia is not a "group"
  • allows room for differences within the two parts of Italy and even between regions and provinces
  • intercorrelation between metrics 149
  • 152-162: Detailed discussion of measurement of civic traditions in historical comparison and discussion of alternative hypotheses, especially that economics is a bigger driver of the differences than so far supposed.
  • >1870Civic regions dis not start out and were not always wealthier 153
  • <1870 economic conditions have aligned with civic involvement

  • Consider Figures 5.3 and 5.4. Could be thought of as measure of "cultural transmission rate" as in Richerson and Boyd.


Midterm Exam


Viroli, "The Liberty of Servants"

  • Premise, estsblished in Ch, 1
  • Berlusconi's enormous (yet not totalitarian) power has created a society of servants comparable to a renaissance court wherein everyone live (with relative advantages) to serve, support, advise and please the Prince
  • in the court, people are free from forceful power (liberty of servants) but they are not free to express themselves and act according to their conscience (republican liberty)

Chapter 4

  • Why is it in Italy that the republic has been reduced to a court?
  • Moral Weakness:
  • Centuries of servitude to foreign rulers, despots and the church (ref. Castiglione's treatise "il cortegiano" [The Courtier] (1528)
  • Leopardi (Enlightenment thinker, romantic poet}, observed in the early 1800s (times of foreign, despotic and spiritual dominance) that Italians have no sense of honour; indifferent, cynical, disdainful of others, and deprived of love for themselves, they cannot be free
  • servants are aware of their condition, but they are unable to affront it and laugh instead; Italians "laugh of life"
  • lack moral conscience, an inner freedom/voice reminding us that our principles cannot be compromised (Martinetti, antifascist, ref to Kant)
  • Antifascist resistance fighters represented this moral conscience and recognised roots of moral weakness in Catholicism
  • Salvemini: Italians prey to the Madonna and the saints, but care little bout Christ and the Lord and ignore the authority of their conscience; Catholicism reduced to moral education of a clergy that pacifies and absolves where moral condemnation would have been needed
  • The Leading Class:
  • organized minority will always govern over an unorganized majority
  • Within a representational democracy, a minority that does not represent the interest of all may become the leading class if it is organised around a leader and posses the means of communication
  • Italy lacks a political class capable of defeating Berlusconi: betrayal of the elite, comparable to 1922 when Mussolini was called to power by the King, although the majority voted for antifascist parties
  • Craxi (socialist prime minister in the 1980s, exposed, like so many other politicians, by the "Mani pullte" investigation), saved B' television monopoly by decree laws and by eliminating resistnace from PCI (creation of RAI 3)
  • The parliament's vote in favour of Berlusconi's TV network made all citizens servants, no longer representatives but courtiers acting on the will of economic power
  • B' government considered a normal right wing administration; Bobbio discerned personal, charismatic, theatrical and courtesan power of authoritarian characteristics, people voted for the person not the program
  • opposition would have been intransigent if it had perceived the loss of republican freedom; did not apply the law on conflict of interests 97-8
  • intransigence would have been more efficient then moderate opposition
  • Civil liberty requires intransigence
  • leaders of the left did not take moral distance from Craxi, impossible to disdain B and hence, to form an opposition
  • enemies of the court in Italy are often not friends of the republic - no sense of civil liberty, and therefore no means to create an alternative to the liberty of servants
  • Servileness: view of the law as an exclusive means of oppression (not as a reinforcement of duties and hence of civil freedom)

MAR 17

'Benvenuti al sud'

  • Remake of the French Benvenue chez les Ch'tis
  • Lombardia, dream of Milano,
  • mother in the "Rondinelle" (Northern connotations: bird, grapes in Veneto); avoid apartment where all family names derive from "beneath the equator"
  • mens' society, Northern concerns and discourses
  • Campania, Castellabate, film made in the memory of Angelo Vassello, environmentalist Mayor of the nearby commune of Pollica, killed in 2010
  • Voi vs Lei
  • yammo, yammo (andiamo, andiamo; (let's go/hurry up)
  • Patron Saint, San Costabile
  • Zabaione al Marsala (eggs/sugar mixed with Marsala liqueur: mother has understood)

MAR 19

Gilmore, "introduction" to The Pursuit of Italy

  • 1970s visit to villa commissioned by Lorenzo de' Medici, likely Poggio a Caiano http://it.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_medicea_di_Poggio_a_Caiano
  • Meets judge and antifascist politican Paolo Rossi, regrets Garibaldi's expedition, North would have been rich and civilised
  • Questions the unification; nations are not inevitable and sometimes artificial constructins may lead to fragmentation; separate states might have been more successful solution to Italy's geographical and cultural divisions

Parks, Milano-Roma-Palermo

  • questions Gilmour's thesis thst Unification was a great mistake: sees unity in the very quarrels people interpret as sign of disunity and emphasises Garibaldi's national idealism
  • train journey North-South and the FS to measure unity
  • Competition to state railways, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori; FS fence hinders Italo's convenient travelling in Rome, no stop at Termini 155
  • Italo leaves from Milano's garibaldi station, a rebel like Garibaldi, English terms, comforts and non trenitalia messages
  • tension old/new 152;
  • FS like the Church; suffocating monopoly more important than its goals; the state and local companies are monopolies of privileges 152-4
  • Montezemolo, founder of NTV, (Ferrari Golden handshake of 27 million € http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21617047-changing-drivers)
  • fear of competition, desire for protection vs desire for liberty
  • entrepreneurs no real threat to the state
  • time warp after Rome, still compartments
  • recalls dialogue between Verona fans and girl from Rome, "trains bring Italians together" 163
  • past Napoli, southerners share food, compartment becomes a salon, 164-5
  • soldier, economic crisis, Revolution national and transnational experiences 166
  • Gossip update Fico/Balotelli http://mobile.gossipnews.it/news/mario-balotelli-raffaella-fico-pia-verissimo-news.html 167
  • after Napoli, silence, non FS messages, only one railway line, abandonment 168-173; 192
  • Ferry from Reggio Calabraia to Messina (2miles) takes hours, contract for new Ferry to Genovese company 171
  • Palermo Centrale, the map is not the territory
  • extracommunitary - irregular immigrants
  • Sicilian railways delveoped for sulphur production, absence of central state 181
  • Modica, square dedicated to Falcone and Borsellino

Some Insights:

  • in defining Italians as a people by the way they argue with each other.
  • in the analysis of partial competition (tracks and fence as Ostiense) (cf. Moravia story, "La Concorrenza") - a tendency to produce monolithic organizations that are sources of loyalty and hostility.
  • in the treatment of icons like Garibaldi
  • on the communality of the train compartment.
  • on the way teenagers interact - social rules observed, spontaneous and scripted.
  • on the hospitality of southerners - offering food.
  • evidence of the state's abandonment of the south.
  • finding himself out of step with his hosts regarding train travel. regarding the state of trains: illusion of state presence, good for comparison with buses,
  • on the meaning of leaving Sicily without a bridge. (Something you could give a thick description of.)

MAR 24

Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1960)

Please trace your assigned theme throughout the narrative, paying attention to differences between characters and the development they undergo individually.

Carissa: the oppositions and/or relations between Nadia, Signora Parondi, Ginetta:

Chris/Hayley: the oppositions and relations between Simone and Rocco

Lily/Kristen: Milano/Lucania (modernity/tradition, city/home)

Haleigh/John: education/work and civic vs familial responsibility

Camille/Hayley: honour and gender/family relations

Drew/Trevor: the concrete and symbolic meaning of boxing

  • Simone rapes Nadia
  • Cathedral/guilt
  • Rocco's match/Nadia's assassination

MAR 26

Gilmore The Shame of Dishonor

  • Anthropological thesis of the Mediteranean as united by a value system of honour and shame
  • originally Peristiany '65, also Pitt-Rivers '65
  • "Honor and shame are reciprocal moral values representing primordial intergration of individual to "group." -- in face to face communities in which "public opinion arbitrates reputation" 3
  • '77 - Davis and other call for more comparison and historical study to document specificity of unity claim. After all, other cultures have honor systems.
  • 1970s Schneider's historical-causal dimension to analysis
  • Mediterranean honor system:
  • fundamentally male; men relate to each other in part through their control of their women.
  • women are the "weak link" in a man's honor.
  • links the erotic with the economic. Marxist interp: women's chastity assumes a kind of exchange value. a woman's personal life is alienated from her and make the property of a man, who makes "social profit" (esteem, honor, status) from the control of her sexuality and from reproduction. Family life commodified? (This helps explain "velina" culture.)
  • honor / shame a "total social fact" since it regulates both sexes relationships and status.
  • not all honor systems are exclusively about sexual regulation. same system support "honor virtues" like generosity, benevolence, philanthropy. Still, other systems have honor-virtue (among elites). What special about med?
  • Explanatory modes: globalist approaches
  • The Schneiders argue that the dependency relationships in the original Med model of honor and shame are now the dependency relationships to global capitalism (along with vestiges of elite/dependency relationships).
  • Criticisms: doesn't explain why female chastity would become the central value in the system. Why not health, vigor, etc.? Also, Schneider's tended to see Med people as "acted upon" by capitalism, rather than as agents. Lots of change in state-relationship-- needs to be theorized.
  • Honor and Masculinity
  • This section provides a fascinating gender analysis of the "precariousness" of masculinity, which might seem a surprising thesis given the dominance of patriarchy. The core of the argument is at the top of page 10: Women are acknowledged and praised (che palle!) for being able to take on men's responsibilities when needed, but this implies that the construction of masculinity around the penis is "perilous" and fragile.
  • men require a "performance" to establish their "real" masculinity: making a woman pregnant, but also in establishing ones' masculinity with other men.
  • Conclusion (11): "Mediterranean honor is a "libidinized" social reputation; eroticized honor is distinctively Mediterranean.
  • "Sexual shame is not only the arbiter of chaste femininity, but also, when lost, the negation of masculine identity." (think Simone).
  • Conclusion
  • Of Cretans: "...there is less focus on being a good man, than being good at being a man."


  • legal emancipation
*1931, 1942 (family law) 1948 prohibits gender discrimination
  • 1970, divorce legalised; 1975 reform family 1981 repeals honour crimes
  • Rape offends public morality until 1996
  • Professional exclusion of women, Laws Made and interpreted by men 230
  • Honor in the Mediteranean: Modesty for women equalled to make jealusy and honour
  • a woman's lack of modestly would breaks the male Right to possess without interferenze (rocco)231
  • rape could be remoe date by marriage
  • Double moral adultery 232
  • 1942 Family law gsve the man corrective power over the woman revised in 1948 constitution but 1942 law in vigour until 1975 233
  • Honor crimes was distinct from homocide, root in the Roman constitution 234
  • unlawful relations had to be consensual and the man had to act on surprise
  • Rocco code tied to fascist demographic cpolicies, Fascism 1930 234
  • After fascism, honour Crimes appeard in the news, based in the South 235
  • Women could kill perpetrator to assert honour or unfaithful husband (defined Crimes of passion) 236
  • Varying judgments dipending on judge and court236
  • 1950 honour crimes are being debated and some courts refuse to apply it 237
  • 1963 women appointed  to judges, teories of the courts 237
  • Killing of vives increasingly common, husband and not other family members 238
  • Abort, infanticide, penalised by Rocco code" leniency in sentences if abortion was motivated by honour 238
  • contraceptive Pill 1969, abortion leglaised in .1978 239 
  • Fear of unbalanced structure in family and society delayed reforms, correlated with increasing presence of women in public space 239

MAR 31

Muraro, Luisa. Symbolic of Sexual Difference

  • Major Topics/Themes of the Article:
  • Founding a sexual ethics by paying attention to language and the symbolic order
  • Story of Uccio's Difference
  • Women's representation in History
  • Women's representation in Philosophy
  • no philosophical tradition present an ethics of sexual differene
  • need to start from language, indexes sexual difference
  • premise: language is a symbolic order that mediates nature and culture. (begins an ethics)
  • Uccio's difference: Western philosophy does not recognize maternal authority, important that Mother replies in the way she does.
  • Awareness of a different history that leaves her mother wordless; history mutes sexual difference
  • historiticy; to be part of and effected by the world as it has developed (exclusion of women), different from telling women's histories
  • female historiography did not change staging of general history, created a minor history of women
  • feminists turned towards historicity of sexual difference: how our being male/female enters into our narratives. We become part of our history. (Narrates herself in third person.) One thing a woman discovers as she's becoming an intellectual (esp) is the absence of women from history.
  • 70s - women's history important, but documents and scholarship underdeveloped, women as the "hidden face of the cube"
  • there is an other history beyond the general one that can only be captured allegorically (allo- other, agora - to talk of in public)
  • necessity to start from scratch from this absence (lack of being, no-being), it will not be a repetition
  • the goal is not corrective, not about doing "justice to women in relation to men:" difference is not primary from men (possible digression on Irigary, her hero.)
  • Mary Bateson (Margaret Mead's daughter): observation about discrimination not leading simply to demand for equality. maybe difference.
  • Heidegger's Dasein: selfhood as neutral with respect to sexuality. but in the logic of marking females as "different", the neutrality of Dasein winds up being male.
  • Muraro's call for a symbolic revolution.




Storey, What is Popular Culture

  • Six definitions of culture:
  • 1. well liked
  • 2. what's left over after deciding what's "high culture"
  • 3. mass culture -- defined by conditions of mass production and mass consumption. "scalable"
  • 4. "from the people" -- populist
  • 5. Gramscian hegemony -- emphasis on the dominance or persistence of "historical block".
  • 6. postmodern
  • Popular Culture, p 5
  • Raymond Williams on "popular": "well liked" "inferior" "seeks to win favour" "by and for the people"
  • includes but cannot be defind by quantitative dimensions
  • if considered a residual/inferior category it reinforces class distinctions - taste is ideological
  • distinction h/l, mass produced/artistry is not always clear
  • problems: culture moves from high to low or vice versa; film noir is art cinema, high culture can be popular (Pavarotti: note, reception, engagement, interpretation 7)
  • tabloids and P. Concert, distinction is economic, question of access
  • "popular" can have positive and negative connotations
  • Hall: forces, relations and institutions sustain the distinction (education system, public media)
"mass culture", implies notions of formulaic and manipulative outputs (often fail financially) and nostalgia for a pre-history of folklore/folk culture and organic unity (but not nec.!) p 8
  • americanisation, homogenisation: 1950s, liberation in American influences, fear of loss
  • positive view as fantasy, escape from our utopian selves 9
  • from, not imposed on, the people; requires authenticity, often equated with working class opposiiton to cpitlsism
  • cultural studies, Gramsci/hegemony theory: site of struggle between subordinate and dominating forces, restance and incorporation
  • struggle may be located within and across individual texts and practices and their reception
  • PC seen politically as constitution of the people, of the everyday, in relation to the dominat groupd
  • Postmodern tenets and treatments of culture; no high/low distinction;
  • Williams: "culture" as a term or category comes in use at a particular moment in history, related to Industrial revolution, urbanization, and mass society. presupposes market economy [Could say the work track the loss of a unified culture.]

Bennett, "Popular Culture and the "Turn to Gramsci"

  • The gramscan turn in cultural studies has created a third ways between structuralist dismissal and culturalalist celebration of popular culture
  • hegemony allows for accommodation, mobility, negotiation of bourgeoise and popular culture
  • effectuates a move away from class essentialist conceptions of culture

  • Bennett’s goal: To show how the turn to Gramsci represents a solution or development in cultural studies which takes us past the impasse between structuralism and culturalism
  • History of cultural studies mostly negative treatments: Marx & F. R. Leavis
  • focused on “production of consent”
  • But there is also, at least in Marxist trajectory, the idea of a liberatory moment
  • Note that we will track this in our treatment of the slow food movement, for example.
  • Two major theoretical orientations of cultural studies: structuralist and culturalist
  • structuralist: popular culture as “ideology machine”: Levi-Strauss: langue vs. parole
  • tended to dominate work on cinema, tv, pop writing
  • cutluralism: uncritical romanticization and celebration of pop culture as expression of authentic interests of subordinated classes.
  • tended to dominate sport, youth subculture, ethnic culture
  • The turn to Gramsci represents a solution to a particular impasse Bennett finds in the structuralist/culturalist models
  • Gramsci’s shuns the condescension of critics like Leavis, as well as “celebratory populism” of culturalism
  • Both structuralism and culturalism imagine oppositions between two camps: bourgeoisie and working class
  • Gramsci’s view favors:
  • less about the dominance of one class over the other and more about the “struggle for hegemony”;
  • we don’t confront bourgeoisie domination in a pure form, but in “negotiated or compromised” forms necessary to accommodate working class. 84: Gray quote: hegemony is the process through which ruling class seeking to negotiate opposing class cultures in effort win a leadership position
  • value of this? Move away from essentializing two classes. Also, helps us look at cultural struggle within different domains: class, race, gender.


Gramsci: Popular Culture


  • revolutionary change is a process in which popular mentalities and behaviors are transformed
  • analysis of cultural habits among workers and intellectuals,
  • failure to form a national-popular culture forms a parallel to the failure of the bourgeois revolution
  • explores relations between dominant and subaltern forms of culture as acting dynamically on each other, suggests that a dominated class may become hegemonic

Concept of National-Popular

  • Critica fascista's complains about Italian papers publishing French 19th-cent novels, failing to see that popular engagement with literature has not changed and that there is no Italian popular literature; artistic literature is not popular;
  • Italian intellectuals do not live the people's sentiments, do not seek to educate the people and to elaborate their sentiments 365
  • papers print novels for financial and political success, readers buy papers not for political reasons but to follow novels as topics of social conversations, engage more authentically with popular writers than cultured readers do with Pirandello (avantgarde) and D'Annunzio (aestheticism) 366
  • no correlation between the terms "national" and "popular" because Italian intellectuals are detached from the people/nation,
  • "national" refers to abstract bookish cast (elite) tradition that has never been broken by a popular movement; to refuse this archeological conception of the country is considered anti-national (hence the opposition from Critica fascista to foreign popular literature)
  • not true that Italians do not read, but they prefer foreign works and undergo the hegemony of foreign intellectuals, there is not national intellectual and moral bloc, no organic relation to the people 367
  • the absence of a unitary national language indicates the same problem 368
  • lay forces have failed in the historical task of educators, have not satisfied peoples' intellectual needs and form a modern humanism Italian readers find in French literature
  • Church is not been more successful, the people experiences indifference, lack of lively spiritual life and religion as superstition that has not been replaced by a new moralistic and secular humanism 370
  • popular novels, prevailing genre indicates a change in tastes, shared diffusion and fortune indicates different strata among the people 370
  • each type of novel has different national caracteristics, and the narrative presents a national sentiment,
  • none of them has Italian authors, a few authors of fictionalised biographies draw on foreign settings and French models to appeal to Italian readers, do not have capacities to become popular
  • more signs of popular culture in the theatre, works of literary quality (Ibsen) has popular appeal
  • Oratory is popular. It is not only poetry but in a large part theater. It covers not only the popular past but also the urban and rural instances.
  • Italian's operatic conception of life - Verdi's music has created artificial poses in the life of the people; the baroque and the operatic appears as a fascinating way to act, but it implies and escape from what the people consider low in their own lives 373
  • operatic tasted formed on the collective expression of oratory - people follow funeral oratories and court sessions and memorize phrases fed on them
Verdi, unitary function https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmjFuIhiwsc
  • way to combat this taste is to offer an anti-rhetorical, concrete language 374
  • level of culture can be measured by those who read papers, serious magazines and books, and by those who only are educated politically by occasional meetings
  • intellectual civilizing has taken an rhetorical and oratory form 376
  • privileges written over visual and spoken culture- moral reformation is a process of acquisition
  • note: context of widespread analphabetism: 1910 46 percent, 1951 13 percent, no unifying language, opera only popular Art

APR 14

Leonardo Sciascia, "The Day of the Owl"


  • Captain Bellodi
  • Sergeant-major: Bellodi's asst.
  • Carabiniere Sposito
  • Sargeant Major Arturo Ferlisi, commander at S.
  • Salvatore Colasberna: main murder victim; brief appearance of his brothers, Giuseppe &
  • Calogero Dibella, Parrinieddu (Little Priest), 3rd murder victim
  • Paolo Nicolosi, tree pruner,2nd murder victim, leaves note fingering Diego Marchica, found in a chiarchiaro,
  • the Vidow, Singora Nicolosi, allegedly having an affair with Passerello (motive for 'crime of passion' '
  • Rosario Pizzuco, a quaquaraqua', rats out Marchica,
  • Diego Marchica, Zicchinetta (a card game), just getting out of prison at time of murder
  • Brescianelli, Bellodi's friend in Parma, Livia also
  • Referenced:
  • Mendolia, anti-Mafia journalist,
  • Mori, Mussonlini's prefect in Sicilia, cleaned out the Mafia; "20 years ago one slept with doors open" 113

Interludes from the men of honor

  • Honourable Member Livigni (parliamentarian), Mancuso (minister), Don Calogero Guicciardo, Don Mariano Arena (local mafia boss)
  • p. 22, 32, 48,60, 82,
  • Phone conversation Execllency in Rome (Minister Mancuso, photographed with Arena) calls Excellency in Sicilia (Possibly Commendatore Zarcone, introduced on p. 25), who calls his office
  • p. 35/22, 95-8/82, 103/90s
  • Visit to the parliament, Minsiter questioned (likely president of,the Committee of ministers for the Funds for the South), substituted by undersecretary, 108

Bellodi on ...

  • Police/anger 54/44, 68/57, 101/88
  • family/state/Mafia 108-9/95
  • money of mysterious origins 112/99-100
  • Men, 116/103
  • Sicilia/Italia 117

Italian word/concepts

  • ingiuria -- alias or nickname, often offensive
  • cornuto -- cuckold, a man whose wife is cheating on him.
  • chiachiaro -- a ravine
  • reference to the owl: Epigraph (citates Sommerset's line in Henry VI, Act 5, scene 4 http://shakespeare.mit.edu/3henryvi/3henryvi.5.4.html), p.86
  • barruggieddu - an evil person in a position of power, based on "bargello"


  • Author presents his method; necessity to remove text to avoid accusations of libel

APR 16

Roberto Saviano, Gomorrah

  • The Neapolitan Textile Industry
  • No contract, no bureaucracy, horizontal dream of postfordism, but no rights nor recognition
  • Xian, auction of designer contracts, open competition but only winner is ultimately paid
  • prodcution costs financed by loans from the clans, no bank gives credit to "dark factories"
  • Zhang
  • Pasquale
  • Luisa'sjudgement of the government and of history
  • Drugmarket of Scampia/le vele
  • a clockwork, cheep local employment for European consumption
  • De Lauro, iberalisation of tpushing, cocaine
  • The Secondigliano War
  • De Lauro's clan hits back at the secessionists/the Spaniards
  • better to kill one too many; territory with most killings in Italy
  • Saviano follows feud with radio
  • they kill each other, predictable who in any given moment is "each other"
  • Gelsomina Verde, associated with a secessionist
  • Killings/children
  • Carmela Attrice, mother of a secessionist
  • killers return, "like participating in your own film"
  • Pikachu, the clans' trawlers
  • army of boys/baby-pushers trained for death and to work for the System
  • The Land of Fire
  • Dumps emblematise economic cycle, changed landscape
  • unemployment, crime syndicates and number of volunteers for the army and police are highest in the South
  • business in uninspected waste from Northern industries,
Franco, stakeholder/mediator - guarantees full handling at low price, defends job on the grounds of the people he has helped
  • Roma boys dump and burn toxic waste
  • continuous and repetitious apocalypse

APR 21

APR 23

Andrews, "Civic Rennaissance in Sicily"

  • methpor for the world's paradoxes and contradictions (Sciascia)
  • Cosa Nostra, Crisis 1980s-1990s
  • Andreotti, emblem of the state and the Cristian Democrats' collusive position
  • civic resistance
  • Sicilian Identity
Sciascia added optimism to the Sicilian predicament (lack of labour unions/civic consciousness/liberal democracy; clientilism, rooted in historical determinism and lacking sense of state)
  • gattopardism/transformism following the Risorgimento
  • Sicilianismo as reaction to central power structures
  • familismo/ weak social society explains Sicilian but also,Italian relations in modern, urban contacts
  • the Mafia,
  • major opposition to change
  • justified and perpetuated as rooted in Sicilian culture
  • state within the state, unite networks of power
  • Falcone, lackkig sense of state generations distortion so in the
  • reasserted after fascism by Allied powers, later protected by the Christian democrats and Berlusconi
  • lack of left wing forces since the massacre at Portella della Ginestra
  • Salvo Lima and Vita Ciancimino, mayors in Palermo, distinuted federal funds and constructions contracts, contacts to Andreotti
  • Sindona, fraudulent banker protected by Andreotti, the Mafia, and the U.S., killed lawyer Giorgio Ambrosoli
  • Andreotti Against saving former Prime Minister Aldo Moro and was protected by the killing of General Della Chiesa
  • Maxi trials and assassinations of Falscone and Borsellini in 1992
  • "identity-based illegality" requires knowledge of identity to be broken
  • deprived of the appeal to identity and values, the Mafia looks like criminal only
  • The Palermo Spring
  • Leoluca Orlando as anti Mafia mayo obstructed by the Christian Democrats
  • Orlando forms la Rete in 1992 and enters the Parliamtn with an anitmafi agenda
  • the Mafia killed to much, Orlando's movement reaches out to women and children
  • need to respect Sicilian identity as distinct from the Mafia which apples to ideals of family and honour
  • arrest of Toto Rina and Provenzano
  • the Mafia appeals to new values of Berlusconismo (freedom from rules and wealth without having development)

notes on the State-Mafia negotiations

  • 1. Negations 1992-January 1993
  • starts following the final verdict of the Maxi-trial headed by Falcone and Borsellini
  • Salvo Lima and other connections to the CD are killed in a strategy of tension to take over State control in Sicily
  • Andreotti, himself a indicacted victim. dismisses the alarm raised, threatened politicians make no official reports
  • Attack on Falcone, anticipated and likely known to the Secret services, no report made
  • ROS- Investigstive a body of the Carabinieri- contacts Vito Ciancimino/Cosa nostra to stop the killings
  • Borsellini learns about the negotiations and that he is a destined victim (news relealed to and concealed by chief prosecutor in Palermo who despite alarms takes no precautions
  • July, Attack on Borsellini, known to and likely sanctioned by the Secret services; Borsellini's agenda is intact and disappears
  • end of first negoations
  • 2. negotiations January 1993-April 2008
  • Legals process sees 6 men of the state and 6 of Cosa nostra Accused

APR 28

APR 30

Andrews, Chatpers 1 & 2, The Slow Food Story

Chapter 1, "Politics in Search of Pleasure"

  • context for slow food: social movements of the 60's and 70's. (Italian counter-culture.)
  • low power radio stations common means: Radio Bra Onde Rosse.
  • politics at Club Tenco, also the pursuit of pleasure.
  • revival of traditional festivals: the singing for eggs (Cante i'euv)
  • 1982 incident: Montalcino Sagra del Tordo (thrush) Mention Arci clubs.
  • in play: Is the pursuit of pleasure through healthy food and culture a capitalist bourgeoisie plot or a fundamental right to be advocated politically?
  • formation of an "Arci Gola" (appetite)
  • projects: Gambero Rosso, wine guides, Osterie d'Italia, guides to osterie.
  • 1986: wine poisoning scandal. McDonalds opens in Rome at Spanish Steps.
  • Slow Food Manifesto
  • parallel movement in US embodied on story of Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse. Pollan also finds sources of these ideas in 1960s US counter-culture.
  • Eco-gastronomy -- (a great sub-field of food study, by the way! cf. Dan Berber, The Third Plate) and the "politics of aesthetics" (only partly in line with Marxism). (So Carlo Petrini is another candidate for Gramsci's authentic intellectual.)
  • Projects: international food exhibitions, then Terra Madre (2004), related movements in Germany (Greens)
  • slow food also has a conservative dimension.

Chapter 2, "The Critique of 'Fast Life'"

  • critique of "productivity culture"; efficiency vs. frenzy;
  • Castell's theory of time-space compression -- capitalism more and more about speed of transactions. circuluation of capital. (on edge of a big discussion about the future of work - piece work is coming back!)
  • counter view of Charles Leadbeater and others: fast culture is the answer, the problem is that we have all of these institutions from the 19th century and earlier slowing us down.
  • Andrew: Sure, the fast lane is open to an emerging global elite, but not clear that fast culture will help most people.
  • Ritzer's "McDonaldization of Society" -- "globalization of nothing" (social forms centrally conceived, centrally controlled and lacking in context).
  • Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: 1970 6 million on fast food; 2001 110 billion!
  • British "trolley towns"; American suburbs. globalization of construction and architecture.