Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Law, State and Society in Southern Europe

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

DESCRIPTION Description:

The perceived prevalence of corruption in Southern Europe, the inadequacies of development discourse and the upsurge in nationalistic sentiments in the region make it imperative to deepen and historicize our understanding of these societies, while resisting the temptation to describe them as locked in cultural stasis. This study unit will draw on ethnographic research to focus on the interaction between legal systems, state bureaucracies and grassroots movements, cultural attitudes and social practices. The unit will begin by exploring the historical evolution of the concept of the nation-state and the 'Problem of the South'. The ahistorical and Orientalising framework through which Southern European realities have traditionally been framed in the social sciences will be critiqued. Various ethnographic case studies will then seek to map out the complex inter-relationships of law, state and society in various societies of this region, with a particular emphasis on Greece, Southern Italy, Malta and Spain. We will look closely at time and its social uses, ritual events, the rhetoric of "familism" and gender identity, responses to migration, bureaucratic corruption, the mafia, patronage and factionalism against the backdrop of recent anthropology of the state and law on the one hand and Girard's theory of mimetic rivalry on the other.

Reading List:

- Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London and NY: Verso, 1991.
- René Girard, Violence and the Sacred. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.
- Michael Herzfeld, A Place in History: Social and Monumental Time in a Cretan Town, Princeton: University Press, 1991.
- Italo Pardo, Managing Existence in Naples: Morality, Action and Structure. Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology 104. Cambridge: University Press, 1996.
- Jane Schneider (ed.) Italy's Southern Question: Orientalism in One Country. Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1998.
- Journal of Mediterranean Studies Vol.1 No.1 & various other issues. University of Malta.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Brian Campbell
Ibtisam Sadegh
David E. Zammit

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.