Transhumant narratives and representations: pastoralism as a multidisciplinary, multi-situated and rhetoric fieldwork
Letizia Bindi (Università degli Studi del Molise)
Paper short abstract:
Narratives of transhumance are redundant and extremely differentiated: poems, novels, oral literature, audio-visual storytelling and documentaries. They represent one of the forms of reshaping of this traditional practice as an intangible cultural heritage.
Paper long abstract:
Anthropologists have always devoted much attention to studies on pastoralism and much has been written, in the various ethnographic contexts, about transhumance. Many arratives have been produced and collected about traditional pastoralism: poems, oral literature, novels, images, media narratives and documentaries. This imposes a multidisciplinary approach and a multi-situated ethnography of these different forms of narration in their relationships to the systems of knowledge-practices they are describing, narrating, imagining. Storytelling and witnessing are today opening to a strong revitalization of transhumant narratives. Walking shepherds, vagrant pastoralism become ways of rethinking breeding activities and ways of moving in the pastoral landscape, relationships between local identity and territories, traditions and modernisation, but also between inland and coastal regions and, moreover, between humans and animals (some evokative video-documentaries: Anna Kauber, 2018, Dragos Lumpan, 2017). I'll propose a reflection on past and present narratives (Stefano Di Stefano's La ragion pastorale, 1731) face to the increasing 'heritagization' of pastoralism (Franco Ciampitti's Il tratturo,1968). The often compromised pastoral landscape is evoked, in fact, through narratives, used and textually re-imagined and, at the same time, as a powerful tool for the tourist exploitation and the marketing of the territories (Bindi, 2017). Here the narration about 'routes' - sacred, cultural, naturalistic - becomes a tool for enhancing of cultural landscapes, but, above all, it represents an ambivalent and challenging notion: a radically mobile root and source of identity ( Infold, Way of Walking, 2008; Aime-Viazzo-Allovio, Sapersi muovere, 2001; Petrocelli, La transumanza, 1998).
Roots, routes and rhizomes: narratives of staying, moving and settling in literature