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Town and Country in Locorotondo

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Introduction

Anth. 4360: Topics in Anthropology Dr. Olga Supek Re-Reviewed by D.Michele Ellis-Thomas Town and Country in Locorotondo: By Anthony H. Galt University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Thomas Publishing, Wadsworth Group, 2002. University of Texas, October 25, 2004 Galt's ethnography is a case study of Locorotondo, a small southern Italian town and community hamlet in 1981 through the early eighties. Galt has written eight chapters addressing the issues of social relationships, gender roles, economic, daily living, and where community was simply their way of life. In the Introduction, Galt found a particular interest in studying this town as his ancestry lineage is of Italian descent. His approach is both "temporary and historical (VII) focusing primarily on the relationship with people to their community. According to Galt, there are two questions he raises with his research. 1). "Why is this place special among southern Italian places and what are the implications of it's being special? " (X), and 2). "Social change." (10) In his study, Galt felt that social, economical, and political aspects prior to World War II and post World War II with the advent of industrialization introduced "adaptive strategy" in how societies and communities develop conscious plans for dealing with limitations in a changing social and natural environment. Galt, also, uses the history of this town as a baseline to evaluating those changes that occurred during that time frame. Chapter's 1, 2, and 3 deals historical settlement physical description, and changing values. ...read more.

Middle

If a woman goes unmarried, her family of origin will build her a home and she will stay with them (41). "Courtship and engagement are tightly covered by rules" and earlier days with arranged marriages (42). The temptation of daughters is tightly guarded and the potential courting male must approach the family cautiously. Premarital sex happens in secret though as a result, parents hurry to rush marriages especially in case of a pregnancy (40). Children number 5-6 and not all are expected to survive to adulthood, families seem to be permissive and generous to their children, care and respect of old people is a core value. Neighbors find power in gossip and often quarrel over space and hamlets, or arise from quarrels between their children (50). Religious belief systems and old age behavior in women's gender roles are touched upon and old age. The women once tended the household more in abundance wearing the color of black upon reaching their 40's and 50's due to so many personal losses (page 51). Rural belief system revolves around Saints (51). There is still an abundant belief in rural folklore (55), caution of priests and ghosts (53-54). In Chapter 5, Galt, explores the factors that contribute to the socioeconomic condition and social rank that affects the community in the changing times. Most grew up with certain expectations of their career. This is changing with time elite recognizes levels of rank (57) ...read more.

Conclusion

The examples and information Galt collected and included in the book were most interesting and really permits further exploration of one own position in society and in their community. Sadly, as Locorotondo becomes more industrialized and the community has to reach beyond their towns' boundaries, the influence begins and has diluted their old world values and we loose much of the historical tradition. Before factory development in Locorotondo, community and family came first and is primarily importance. In some ways it still is however, involvement and necessity force outside influences that alter that historical tradition as economic and social conditions change. Evolution and change is unavoidable. Maturation of the human being and social development is necessary for the survival of the species although I wonder at what point the turning point will actually be. The winds of change will turn against mankind and we then will destroy our species rather that develop it should we loose our moral obligation to each other. Galt, as a result of his study, concludes that as society changes so do our value systems. Galt seemed to have been satisfied that he thoroughly covered and conveyed his subject matter through the conventional methods of a literature search, interviews with townspeople, living in the hamlet and piecing together the components of his research through a compilation of all this information. I found this to be true from reading his case study, which was exciting and informative. I think that a current study would prove him to be correct in his analysis. ...read more.

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