Trasformazioni discorsive e identità sociali: il caso dei lazzari

Autore: Francesco Benigno
In: Storica. 31 • anno XI, 2005
doi:10.1400/78551
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Abstract

Discorsive transformations and social identities: the «lazzari» case
Foreign visitors to Naples in the 18th Century gave accounts of a certain kind of destitute homeless population termed as «lazzari». Originally portrayed as the unruly and dangerous scum of the city’s lowlife, the lazzari undergo a transformation and are subsequently viewed as the prototype for a particular Mediterranean identity: folk who get along with little yet get the best out of life. In reviewing the various changes of outlook that in time led to the crystallisation of the «lazzaro» stereotype, the author attempts to demonstrate how the lazzari or lazzaroni cannot be taken as representing a specific social class that was twice seen to play a political role (in 1647-48 and in 1789), but are rather an expression of a political tradition that is responsible for a number of «social» arguments and representations that finally end up creating representations and «social» subjects.