Meridiana. 99. Briganti: narrazioni e saperi

Testata: Meridiana • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
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pp. 258, ISBN: 9788833137599
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Questo numero di «Meridiana» è focalizzato sulla presenza risalente e pervasiva dei «briganti italiani» e, più generalmente, dei fuorilegge politicizzati sette/ottocenteschi nella Wonderland della cultura di massa e degli immaginari collettivi del Novecento e di inizio XXI secolo. I saggi presentati sollecitano ad avviare il cantiere pressoché inesplorato dell’archeologia, della morfologia, della circolazione intermediale e della ricezione delle narrative a tema brigantesco nell’universo della musica, dei fumetti, dei cartoni animati, dei giochi da tavolo e dei videogames, della cultura materiale e del merchandising, del (foto)romanzo, della filmografia, degli sceneggiati televisivi e della fiction seriale up to date. Il revival e la resilienza delle narrazioni sintetizzabili nell’efficace espressione brigantiland non sono semplicemente delle trovate per richiamare turisti, per produrre brand, per vendere libri, per attirare followers, per aprire musei. Al contrario, sono processi culturali complessi che possiedono un forte impatto comunicativo e una formidabile pervasività, anche sul piano memoriale e simbolico. Queste costellazioni discorsive fanno parte di quelle rappresentazioni che, diverse per taglio, obiettivi, ambito di produzione, destinatari, tono e livello di complessità, si addensano attorno a temi oggetto della ricerca storica, proponendosi non di rado come concorrenziali, quando non alternativi a essa. Anche per questo, non sono fenomeni da liquidare distrattamente, sottovalutandone la portata. Siamo di fronte, d’altro canto, a un terreno straordinariamente disomogeneo e variegato, che rivela una forte domanda di storia, seppure sotto forma di intrattenimento e di riconoscimento identitario, che si ripropone continuamente, in particolare nelle fasi critiche del passato come del presente, e a cui è necessario fornire risposte scientificamente analitiche e interpretativamente creative. I saggi di questo numero passano in rassegna – e decostruiscono – un campione dei flussi di informazioni, dati, interpretazioni, narrative, immagini del brigantaggio (non di rado sotto forma sensazionalistica di presunti scoop) proposti e veicolati nella cultura di massa sia tramite i social media (siti, blog, pagine facebook, canali youtube), che attraverso ricostruzioni improntate alla public fake history, a eventi e celebrazioni di stampo memorialistico e neoidentitario, promosse da poligrafi e da comunità territoriali del Mezzogiorno, che conoscono una forte proiezione mediatica se non virtuale online (Pontelandolfo, Motta Santa Lucia). Indagano, inoltre, la tensione fra questo universo discorsivo e la sua gestione e selezione critica nelle forme rinnovate di comunicazione storica, chiamate a presentare al grande pubblico il passato e a lavorare su di esso, attraverso una riflessione sulle logiche della popular history all’inizio del XXI secolo, e sul ruolo delle agenzie educative, tramite l’analisi delle trasformazioni intervenute nell’insegnamento del fenomeno del brigantaggio nella manualistica scolastica e nell’insegnamento dalla seconda metà del Novecento a oggi.

I briganti sono tutti giovani e belli?
Gian Luca Fruci

The discursive constellations and iconographic sources about the brigand and the phenomenon of brigandage produced a very broad and distinctive repertoire between the 18th and the 19th centuries, which combined politics, literature, visual culture and crime. This repertoire fed almost seamlessly into the imagination of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, when it produced representations suited to the new communication circuits and languages of the audiovisuals and social media. The special issue focuses on the morphology and intermedial circulation of these narratives in the recent Italian historical context. It shows the extent to which these cultural processes belonged to a permanent global fascination for the figure of the outlaw hero. These narratives, that result from a combination of history and mythography, are indebted to the codes of the «untold story», to the melodramatisation of the past and to the morphology of the «Robin Hood principle».

Keywords: Outlaw hero; Brigandage; Robin Hood principle; Mass media.


Briganti prêt-à-porter: media, narrazioni e identità nel XXI secolo
Claudia Villani

The boom in media-based narratives of the past is the main phenomenon with which history, school and teaching must compete today. The essay retraces the changes in the historical narration forms, as a result of a double order of phenomena: the reconfiguration of the forms of social communication and its effects on narrative strategies (storytelling); the reconfiguration of collective and individual identities on a planetary scale in the context of globalization processes. Some hypotheses are being put forward to explain, in this context, the new populist style and the transversal success of the brigand-hero, a new prêt-à-porter myth, the very personification of current identity transitions.

Keywords: Popular history; Historical narratives; New media; Brigands.


Briganti a scuola
Lucia Boschetti, Annastella Carrino

The essay questions how the subject of the process of Italian unification and banditry is addressed in the teaching of history. What emerges is a poor reception of the renewal of studies and of the historiographical debate, in the face of a revival of the identification of banditry with the class struggle, of its close connection with the state property issue, and of the identification of the brigand with the social hero. On the other hand, echoes of the neo-Bourbon vulgate do not seem to resonate in the classrooms. Nonetheless, this sort of resilience of the social reading of the phenomenon leads young people to a misunderstanding of its scope, which has as a direct consequence, among other things, an almost spontaneous mechanism of actualization.

Keywords: School manuals; History education; Brigandage.


Brigantiland. Social media, circuiti commerciali, intrattenimento
Christopher Calefati, Antonella Fiorio, Federico Palmieri

This article aims to analyze the different expressions of the Italian Brigandage’s counter-narrative into contemporary popular culture. The essay introduces the definition of Brigantiland as a complex mainstreaming where the different mediatic networks catch up a several number of users in the online world. By applying the methods of the Public History, considering the huge number of contents, which are shared into the web and comparing with similar repertoires, the article focuses its attention on the online construction of the heroic brigand’s icon. In this way, brigands’ pictures, which are popular in social media, are deconstructed and analyzed according to the methods of the most recent digital communication. Shifting towards the material culture, the essay is focused on the football’s popular culture, which appropriates the brigand as a symbol of local identity, with the consequent spreading of the merchandising using the brand of brigands. By analyzing the popular culture, the article explores the ensemble of events and manifestations that are centred on the Brigandage and its main characters, which also produce a sequence of food products that show off their brand of identity.

Keywords: Brigands; Popular culture; Social media; Social identity; Visual culture.


Il significante vuoto e l’immaginario patrimoniale del brigante
Maria Teresa Milicia

This article deals with the patrimonialization process of the brigand Giuseppe Villella in his native village Motta Santa Lucia in Calabria. The skull of Villella is the sémiophore of Cesare Lombroso’s discovery of the atavism of the born criminal as well as it is the scientific relic exhibited in the new display of Museum of Criminal Anthropology in Turin. The dissemination of counter-history of Italian unification and the ceremonial re-foundation of the places of memory of the vanquished of Risorgimento by the neo-Bourbon movement have created the symbolic resources for the appropriation of Villella as the brigand representative of the history and memory of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The ethnographic approach provides an in-depth focus on the performative function of the brigand as «empty signifier» in the political construction of the Southern brigand-patriot-partisan. It also brings into view the heritage frictions into the social intimacy of the community of Motta Santa Lucia – il paese del brigante – which were culminating during the realization of the first Festival del Brigante in 2019.

Keywords: Brigand; Empty signifier; Heritage politics; Place branding.


Da «terra di briganti» a «città martire». L’identità e il mito di Pontelandolfo (1973-2020)
Silvia Sonetti

The history of Pontelandolfo, a small town in the province of Benevento, remained substantially unchanged until the 1970s, when the reinterpretation of the events that took place in the town during the war of post-unitary banditry made it a symbol of rhetoric of the new Southern revisionism and, more recently, of the neo-Bourbon mythology. Although the numbers and dynamics of the episode have been widely ascertained by old and new research, a sensational case of historical manipulation has been built around Pontelandolfo, which would confirm the existence of a Risorgimento against the South, made up of massacres, even of a genocide, covered up by the victors and the official history. Leaving the historical-reconstructive problem in the background, this article intends to reflect on the path that in the last fifty years has transported an anonymous country in the South to the center of a heated and contentious debate on a regional and national level. In this perspective, Pontelandolfo is no longer just a typical case of fake history like many others in Italy and in the world. It is also a useful tool to explore and understand broader dynamics of community building, identity or tradition in which the history of the past crosses the problems of the present, giving rise to cultural debates, individual opportunities, building memories and territorial, intellectual, social and political claims.

Keywords: Pontelandolfo; Myth; Fake history.


Effetti perversi e politiche migratorie: il caso degli sbarchi fantasma
Valentina Punzo, Attilio Scaglione

Although the number of migrant arrivals has significantly diminished since its peak between 2014 and 2016, according to the latest statistics from the International Organization for Migration and the UNHCR the Central Mediterranean Route, which refers to the sea journey from North Africa to Italy, remains to be the most deadly. This study analyzes the conclusive part of a migrant’s journey to Italy: the crossing of the Mediterranean. In particular, the text focuses on the phenomenon of «ghost» or «phantom» landings where small boats manage to evade detection by authorities. This type of arrival has been responsible for bringing the majority of the 7.926 people to the Italian shores in 2019. This study argues that the rise in so-called «phantom» boat arrivals represents an indirect consequence of the EU and Italian irregular migration policies to counter migrant smuggling. To investigate the characteristics of the ghost landings, the study takes into consideration the route that connects Tunisia to Sicily where, in recent years, the presence of criminal organizations already active in the smuggling of cigarettes has been detected.

Keywords: Migrant smuggling; Migration policies; Criminal organizations.


Zone di variegata sovranità: sistemi di controllo e protezioni dei lavoratori in distacco
Francesco E. Iannuzzi, Devi Sacchetto

Based on qualitative data collected for a European research project on the system of protection of posted workers in the EU, this study explores the specific ways in which posting of workers is used in the Italian labour market, by analysing both the forms of administrative controls and the practices put in place by trade union organisations to address irregularities and guarantee protections to workers. Due to its economic structure and the high availability of tools to lower labour costs in Italy, the posting of workers seems to be less used by companies than in other European member states. However, its presence in some sectors and, especially, in some Italian regions, poses specific problems to the system of control of the regularity of work and the union’s practicability. The authors argue that transnational posting is a way of managing the workforce that undermines labour controls and state-based forms of trade union action, highlighting the erosion of labour governance of national institutions and unions.

Keywords: Posting of work; Unions; Labour inspectorate; European Union.


Verso un corpo ufficiali costituzionale e nazionale. La trasformazione dell’istituzione militare piemontese, 1849-59
Jacopo Lorenzini

After the revolutionary phase of 1848-49, among all the Italian states Piedmont alone maintained its liberal constitution. The choice was to be crucial to the future of Italian unification, giving to the House of Savoy the opportunity to take the lead of the entire geopolitical process. However, diplomacy and politics needed a military institution deeply different than the one which fought half-heartedly the late war against the Austrian Empire. As a consequence, between 1849 and 1859, a new military élite took the head of the Piedmontese Army. Alongside the new liberal political élite, which ruled the Kingdom of Sardinian, a group of constitutional generals and staff officers led by Alfonso Lamarmora shaped the Piedmontese officer corps after the pan-Italian and liberal features of Cavour’s politics. Their work mutated the vastly plethoric and strictly conservative Piedmontese Army of King Charles-Albert into a French-style institution commanded by a new kind of professional officer, respectful of the liberties sanctioned by the Statuto Albertino.

Keywords: Liberalism; Military; Professionalism; Risorgimento.


Tra «letteratura» e «scienza»: rappresentazioni del Delta padano
Giuseppe Scandurra

At the heart of this paper is the relationship between literature and anthropology. The richness of this relationship also emerges when these two kinds of writing, novel and ethnography, focus their descriptive/analytical gaze on a contemporary environment. The case study analyzed is Ferrara where, between the early 1950s and the late 1980s, a new network of intellectuals produced a series of visual and writing works concerning Ferrara and its neighborhoods – paintings, photographies, cinema, video art on the one hand; reportage, social investigations, essays, poems, stories, novels on the other – of anthropological value. This generation of intellectuals had a strongly transdisciplinary point of view, where the separations between what is called «science» and what is called «literature» were less evident, also considering the absence of a Humanities faculty and the institution of the first chair of Anthropology in Ferrara only in 2008/2009. What weight and scientific value should we give today to these literary works? How did these influence the image we have today of that territory not far from Ferrara, which we call Delta Padano? Did they have a role in the creation of the first chair of cultural anthropology in the city?

Keywords: Anthropology; Literature; Delta Padano.