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Editors: Claval, Paul
Pagnini, Maria Paola
Scaini, Maurizio
Issue Date: 19-Jul-2006
Journal: Proceedings of the Conference THE CULTURAL TURN IN GEOGRAPHY, 18-20th of September 2003 - Gorizia Campus
Part VI: Tourism, Sustainable Development and Culture Turn
In the region which, approximately eight centuries ago, came to be known as Abruzzo,
mountains decreed man’s fate. […] And the Abruzzesi people have remained bound to this
community with its relatively unusual destiny, characterized by an unerring loyalty to their
economic and social structure, stretching beyond the bounds of practicality itself. This would
remain inexplicable were we not to consider the very factor constant in their existence, which
is also the most primitive and stable of elements – nature itself’ (Silone, 1948, p. 7). It is with
these words that Silone opens his work ‘Abruzzo e Molise’ – The Abruzzo and Molise regions
- (Touring Club Italiano, 1980). Words, which despite the high regard afforded the great
Marsican writer, we may be quick to disregard due to his, no doubt unintentional, but
nevertheless deterministic tone. However, by substituting the term ‘territory’ for ‘nature’
(probably the concept Silone was referring to - although, evidently the term ‘territory’ as used
by geographers was yet to become part of everyday speech and was possibly still to become
widespread even among specialists) the writer feels we can begin to grasp an essential theme
in the social and economic history of the region, which eight centuries ago (readers should
note – this is not a recent occurrence), came to be known as Abruzzo (or the Abruzzi). On the
other hand, in one of his later passages, the very same Silone introduces a human aspect into
his analysis of the social, economic and identity-based evolution – in short, cultural evolution
– of Abruzzo and its people. Nature and history have stood side by side in forging the
region’s identity, and none other than mankind, as we well know, forges history. In fact,
Silone maintains, “I am not claiming that Abruzzesi character is unalterable – having been
born from history, it can also be unraveled and modified by history” (ibidem p. 12) or indeed
the inhabitants themselves: the determinism of the initial assertions, now erring towards
Type: Proceedings
ISBN: 88-8303-180-6
Rights: © Copyright 2003 Edizioni Università di Trieste - EUT
Appears in Collections:The cultural turn in geography

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