Accepted Paper:

Contrasting moralities of rural landscapes in southern Europe  


Antonio Maria Pusceddu (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)

Paper short abstract:

This paper attempts to frame a discussion of different moralities of landscape within a processual framework, trying to de-construct the presumed intrinsic positive moral value of official representations, and point to the indubordinate practices of implicit alternative moralities.

Paper long abstract:

Rural development programmes sustained by European Union agricultural policies devote much attention to rural landscapes worth of preservation as well as to people living in it. According to this view rural areas are still depositary of a traditional way of life, ideologically represented as good and positive in oppositions to the now disrupting and polluted modern one. Rural people are depicted as guardians of a (once more) vanishing civilization. Folklore studies and ethno-national rethorics had before nourished such image of rural autenticity as a strong source of legitimation - in a way that has been termed 'internal orientalism'.

During the last century relevant demographic and economical processes have brought about significant change in rural landscapes. Migration flows, mechanization in agriculture, market integration have changed considerably the ecological and socio-cultural features of many areas. Southern European countries have experienced massive migration toward the northern countries, and from rural to urban areas, whereas the agricultural economy declined considerably. Anthropological studies have shown how even the smallest sheperd community had to deal with some macro-dynamics, and how the latters have forcibly influenced new strategies to fit in with the new changing conditions.

This paper try to provide an ethnographic account of the way local views and perceptions (or moralities) of landscape can be better understood in a processual framework, and how within local comunities contrasting moralities of landscape, together with internal social stratification, reveal to be quite problematical. Ethnographic materials are provided from fieldwork in Greece (Epirus) and Italy (Sardinia). A comparison will be attempted between two different rural areas that have experienced different historical pasts.

Panel W100
Peripheral Europe as moralized landscapes