Accepted Paper:

Continuity and social change in the Venice ghetto.  

Author:

Antonella Di Trani (ENSAPVS, Ecole d'Architecture de Paris-Val de Seine, Ecole des Hautes ├ętudes en Sciences Sociales)

Paper short abstract:

For most of the Venetian Jews the ghetto is not a place to live but a place where one returns. They claim the sens of belonging to the ancient enclave by reactivating the past and by persistant practices in the emblematic urban space of the ghetto.

Paper long abstract:

The presentation aims at demonstrating how the different actors appropriate the Venice Ghetto by making contrasted or dissonant usages of the space and of the place's past to claim their belonging to the place through discursive or material resources. Starting in the 1990s, a new Jewish Hassidic community coming from the United States established itself in the Venice ghetto, an ancient institutionnalized encalve created in 1516. This event marks a rupture with the ghetto of "before" in the sense that it brings to the foreground a questioning about the usage of the ghetto in the present, and the relationships between "established" and "newly arrived" in a same place. Because of the significant difference linked to the two jewish communities conditions and mode of implantation in the ghetto which entail very diverse temporalities and historical moments, these two groups do not entertain the same relationship to this space in the present and to its dense historical past.

The feeling of belonging that the established Jews have with the ghetto is not defined by their residential implantation in the place but by the permanent reactivation and affirmation of their genealogical link to this space. .

If the modes of appropriation of the ghetto space are thus very varied, the collective practices like an old one locally called the "last trip of the deceased," which takes place when a Venetian Jewish community member disappears enable the local community members to mark their ghetto belonging and to allow their visibility to persist within the public space.

Panel P114
Permanence: anthropologies of what stays