The Bounded Field: Localism and Local Identity in an Italian Alpine Valley
Berghahn Books, 2003 - 224 Seiten
Regionalism is one of the most debated issues in contemporary Western Europe, yet why the region, instead of the nation-state, is appealed to in certain areas as a compelling formulation of selfhood remains largely unexplored. Drawing on ethnographic information collected in an Alpine valley in Trentino (northern Italy) in the 1990s, The Bounded Field explores issues of national, regional and local identity, and particularly the impact of the advent of regionalist political movements which stress northern Italy's partaking of a 'European culture'. It looks at the ways the ideologies of these movements are accommodated to local-level discourses, and particularly at how a post-peasant society interprets political symbols and other ideological messages emanating from regional, national and other centres. It focuses on how the imagery of the 'bounded field' is used by the inhabitants of an Alpine valley to describe their community in relation to a nation-state perceived as intrusive. identity in Europe, which look at local identity either as an 'invention' of political leaders, or as a concept that is constructed locally independently of outside forces. By examining how local identity is articulated on these different levels, The Bounded Field points to the dialectical process between 'above' and 'below' that accounts for the appeal of specific constructions of local identity. This dialectical process is examined by focusing on how elements of personal experience, ideas about gender, views about landscape, and particularly ideas about private property and community boundaries (expressed by the imagery of the 'bounded field') may form the background against which political issues are debated and understood. In examining this articulation, the book moves beyond a vision of politics as over and above social relations, and provides an alternative to theories of nationalism which take little account of the articulation between nationalist/regionalist ideologies and local-level discourses.
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