Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationBologna, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10198
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleDonzelli, Aurora (Bologna, U. of) "Back to the Roots: Language, Capitalism, and Rural Revival in Contemporary Italy"
This project is a language-centered study of rural revival in contemporary Italy. The goal is to explore the intersection between language and global capitalism by bringing within a single analytic field interactional practices of resistance against the technocratic formalization of language and people’s participation in networks of indigenous food activism, “hobby farming,” and “back-to-the-land” movements. Language, it is argued, is key in shaping neo-rural existential and political projects against incessant commodification. Drawing on ethnographic methods and video recordings of spontaneous interaction in farmers markets, family-owned orchards, domestic spaces, and solidarity purchase groups, this research will: (i) Provide an account of neo-rural food activism as a cultural response to the impact that the post-World War II deruralization had on the lives of individuals. (ii) Explore the parallels between the Taylorization of agricultural production and the processes of linguistic standardization. (iii) Analyze the role of linguistic practices both as infrastructures for the expansion of globalized agribusiness and as technologies for crafting alternative forms of sociality revolving around the production and consumption of local food. This approach brings together linguistic anthropology and food studies to think critically about the challenges of building sustainable food systems in the context of global market economies.