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Title: Landscape, practice and tradition in a Sicilian market
Authors: Marovelli, Brigida
Advisors: Hirsch, E
Niehaus, I
Keywords: Urban anthropology;Food studies;Landscape;Modernisation and tradition;Anthropology of Europe
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: School of Social Sciences Theses
Abstract: This research explores the dynamic relationship between place, history and landscape in an urban food market, Catania, Sicily. This market informs a mythological image of the island and my main concern is what significance lies underneath this representation. I examine the ways in which this image has been constructed through ideas of history, space, landscape, modernity and tradition. Unpacking these notions in the light of my in-depth ethnography, I address how vendors and buyers frame and define their relationship with space and time. After placing the market in relation to its historical and geo-political context, I argue that the representation of passivity and the lack of agency have contributed to the maintaining of elitist local and national powers. The use of space within the market informs a distinctive cosmology, in which the landscape constitutes the main local organising principle. The landscape is looked at as a cultural process, constantly renegotiated and recontextualised. The principal categories of food classification ‘wild’, ‘local’,and ‘foreign’ are explanatory notions of a specific relationship between people, food and locality. The interaction between vendors and buyers cannot be understood as a purely economic transaction. Their relationship is articulated through a unique set of practices, which are analysed throughout this thesis. Senses, social interactions, culinary knowledge, and conviviality contribute to the ability to operate within the market. I look at my own ethnographic experience as a practical “apprenticeship”. I also address the local ideas of tradition and modernity, mainly through the analysis of the shared fears of being left behind and of losing control over the process of change. The idea of modernisation as an ongoing process carries with it a sense of loss, of nostalgia for an idealised past.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Anthropology
Dept of Social and Political Sciences Theses

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