Recent theoretical debates in anthropology are very critical towards «culturalist» approaches to social and political phenomena. All anthropology is political anthropology, it is often said, meaning that cultural differences are always under-determined by material conditions and power practices. But the dismissal of the concept of culture can dangerously open the way for the return of old forms of political-economic determinism. Politics (in the strict sense of the term) is therefore a useful field to test and rethink the relationships between culture and power. The texts collected in this issue of «Meridiana» are historical and ethnographic analyses of particular political actors and contexts, mainly concerning Southern Italy and Tuscany. In this introduction, we discuss some interpretive categories raised by the different essays, including: the territorial rooting of politics (parallel and not incompatible with its globalization and mediatization), clientelism, dependence and consensus, the crisis of subcultures (such as the red one in Tuscany), populism.
Keywords: Political cultures; Ethnography of politics; Clientelism; Populism.