Accepted paper:

Between Survivalism, Resistance and Fatalism: The Use of Space in a Urban Historical Food Market, Catania, Sicily.


Brigida Marovelli (Trinity College Dublin)

Paper short abstract:

Through the analysis of the urban space use and its significance, this paper aims to address how a historical market in Sicily faced the intervention of local and international authorities.

Paper long abstract:

During my fieldwork in Catania's "Historical Food Market", the local authorities intervened within the market, to introduce different hygienic standards and new health and safety regulations, fitting the purpose of the city centre's renewal. The changes were introduced in name of international institutions, such as the European Union. This paper aims to address how vendors resisted the intervention and how ideas of urban space use differed between the local authorities and the stall-holders. The main line of research, that lies at the origin of my ethnographic work about a food market in Catania, concerns what makes this market historical, traditional and Sicilian. However here I will try to show how the market organisation not only reproduces a specific landscape, rather it conveys a representation of Sicilianit√° - Sicilianess - , as it is conceived and performed within this space. The governing practices enter this sphere and create a tension, which is resolved only partially in a contrapuntal movements between local ideas of modernity and tradition. The argument will be inscribed in the specificity of this cultural context, but it will need to account of the different powers interacting within the market: the local, the regional, the national and the transnational.

panel PE04
Enquiring into the urban form through governing practices and social organisation (IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology )