Italy's 'Southern Question' : Orientalism in One Country book cover
1st Edition

Italy's 'Southern Question'
Orientalism in One Country

Edited By

Jane Schneider

ISBN 9781859739976
Published March 1, 1998 by Routledge
308 Pages

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Book Description

The ‘Southern Question' has been a major topic in Italian political, economic and cultural life for a century and more. During the Cold War, it was the justification for heavy government intervention. In contemporary Italy, a major part of the appeal of the Lombard League has been its promise to dissociate the South from the North, even to the point of secession. The South also remains a resonant theme in Italian literature. This interdisciplinary book endeavours to answer the following: - When did people begin to think of the South as a problem? - Who - intellectuals, statisticians, criminologists, political exiles, novelists (among them some important southerners) - contributed to the discourse about the South and why? - Did their view of the South correspond to any sort of reality? - What was glossed over or ignored in the generalized vision of the South as problematic? - What consequences has the ‘Question' had in controlling the imaginations and actions of intellectuals and those with political and other forms of power? - What alternative formulations might people create and live by if they were able to escape from the control of the ‘Question' and to imagine the political, economic and cultural differences within Italy in some other way? This timely book reveals how Southern Italians have been affected by distorted versions of a complex reality similar to the discourse of ‘Orientalism'. In situating the devaluation of Southern Italian culture in relation to the recent emergence of ‘anti-mafia' ideology in the South and the threat posed to national unity by the Lombard League, it also illuminates the world's stiff inter-regional competition for investment capital.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments, Introduction: The Dynamics of Neo-orientalism in Italy (1848-1995), 1. Before the Southern Question: "Native" Ideas on Backwardness and Remedies in the Kingdom ofTwo Sicilies, 1815-1849, 2. The Emergence of the Southern Question in Villari, Franchetti, and Sonnino, 3. How Many Italies? Representing the South in Official Statistics, 4. Biology or Environment? Race and Southern "Deviancy" in the Writings of Italian Criminologists, 1880-1920, 5. Homo Siculus: Essentialism in the Writing of Giovanni Verga, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and Leonardo Sciascia, 6. The Souths of Antonio Gramsci and the Concept of Hegemony, 7. How Critical Was De Martino's "Critical Ethnocentrism" in Southern Italy?, 8. The Magic of the South: Popular Religion and Elite Catholicism in Italian Ethnology, 9. Casting Off the "Southern Problem": Or the Peculiarities of the South Reconsidered, 10. "Virtuous Clientelism": The Southern Question Resolved?, 11. IL Caso Sciascia: Dilemmas of the Antimafia Movement in Sicily, 12. Re-writing Sicily: Postmodern Perspectives, 13. Contemplating the Palm Tree Line, 14. Two Italies: Rhetorical Figures of Failed Nationhood, Notes on Contributors, Index

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Jane Schneider Professor of Anthropology,Graduate and University Center, City University of New York