Breaking new ground in Mediterreanean anthropology, this book rejects the discipline's traditional focus on honour and shame in small face-to-face communities, and suggests instead that gender and sexuality interact with material processes in the constitution of personal and social identities. In this ethnographic account of the labour market in Naples, the author shows how cultural definitions of gender can be used to investigate broad social processes. Scarce stable employment in the area means that household members are forced to diversify their economic activities in order to survive. Petty entrepreneurship is an option which is almost exclusively available to men. Women, who are either unable or unwilling to obtain factory work, are generally confined to the status of outworkers. The author emphasises that individual choices cannot be attributed solely to economic opportunities but that concepts of selfhood, gender identity and the symbolic value of female sexuality are also important.
Table of Contents
Contents: Italian Economic Development and the Problem of the South -- Marginality and Political Culture in Naples -- A Brief History of Urban Space in Naples -- Outworkers: Lives and Careers -- The Petty Producer and the Mirage of Independence -- The Organisation of Sexuality -- Familism and Identity in Naples -- Motherhood and Gender Identity -- The Family and the Construction of Gender
Victoria A. Goddard Goldsmiths College,University of London