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Town and Country Author(s): John Davis Source: Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 42, No.

3, Social and Political Processes in the Western Mediterranean (Special Issue) (Jul., 1969), pp. 171-185 Published by: The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3317038 Accessed: 28/07/2010 00:46
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Universityof Kent at Canterbury

The settlement pattern of Pisticci, more or less typical of most South Italian towns, correspondsto a classification of the local environment into two main parts-town and country. This conceptual division is one of the social controls which influence other institutionsand behavior. Thus, people live in towns but extensively farm scattered and subdivided smallholdings; there is systematic insecurity of tenure, and joint tenure is common; daughters have priority in transmission of houses; neighborhoods are woman-based; plural employment results in fragmented incomes; peasantry and gentry live in relatively close contact linked by client-patron relationships; and status through honor is controlled by informal and local sanctions. The essay illustratesthat a description of social control is co-terminous with a description of social structure.
Pas un village, pas une maison dans la campagne. Elle est deserte, inhabitable, faute de police et de lois. Comment cultivent-t-on, direz-vous? Le paysan loge en ville et laboure la banlieue; partant le matin a toute heure, il rentre le soir, de peur (Courier 1834: 126; Musatti 1955: 11).

This essayis about the settlementpatternof Pisticci,a town in South Italy. The settlement pattern is more or less typical of most South Italian towns. That is, there is one concentrated settlementin which most of the populationlives; there are a few lesser centres-small villages and large farms; and there are a certain number of houses in the country which belong for the most part to town-basedsmallholders who may live in them for
1 The author wishes to express his gratitude to the following Institutions which severally financed the research between 1963 and 1966: The British Academy; The London School of Economics and Political Science; The Central Research Funds Committee of the University of London; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The MediterraneanResearch Committee (University of Kent; School of Oriental and African Studies; London School of Economics and Political Science; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).




all or part of the year, with all or part of their families.2The esthe relationbetweenthe settlementpatternand some say describes other institutionsof the society: land-tenureand land use and the transmission of land in the country;neighbourhoods, houses, the transmissionof houses, the organisationof work, politics, 'honour', and conjugal relations in the town. It is a tentative essay which makes no claim to establish the primacy of one institutionover the others,nor to establishthe necessityof any of the connectionsI describe.By describingthis structureI hope to indicate, at least, the range of institutionswhich must be considered if we are to understand how a Pisticcese peasant can perceivehis advantageto lie in living in town while workingthe land outside it. It is a sketch: no mention is made here of the considerablechanges which are taking place in Pisticci society: but in attemptingto describethese in other work, I found that some generaloutline of a static sort was necessaryif I was to appreciatethe significanceof the changes: this essay is the general outline. We have to considerthat the labour force in Pisticci, as elsewhere in South Italy, is predominantlyoccupied in agriculture: 60% in 1961, 66% in 1951, and the percentagemust have been in the 90's a hundred years ago. Obviously, if an agricultural populationlives in an urban type of settlement,travellingout to the countryinsteadof living in it, there is a need to explain what social controls are working to maintain a settlement pattern which on the face of it is irrationaland anti-economic.Moreover, if for a moment we stop trying to explain how the settlement pattern can appear to be rational to a Pisticcese,and try instead to explain something else-the system of inheritance,or land use, or the small supply of female labour in the countryside -then, as we shall see, the settlementpatternis a necessarypart of sociologicalexplanation. So, not only do we need to explain
2 PISTICCI RESIDENTS BY TYPE OF SETTLEMENT, 1951 & 1961 Percent Absolute 1961 1951 1961 1951 Pisticci town Other Centres Dispersed 12892 584 1320 11469 692 2669 87 4 9 77 5 18

14830 14796 TOTAL Source: ISTAT(1954)and(1964)





what social controlssupportthe settlementpattern: we can also explain how the settlementpattern itself acts as a sort of social control. Let us begin, then, with a descriptionof the conceptual distinctions between town and country in Pisticci. There is first of all a quite clear distinctionin language: the local word for town is paes (It: paese); the word for countryis for' (It: fuori). The firstis a noun and is used to say, for example, 'he has gone to the town'; the second is a preposition,meaning 'outside' and is used to say, 'he has gone outside.' I find it fairly surprisingthat there should be as marked a distinction between town and countryin Pisticci as there is in England where, on the whole, the divisionis reinforcedby occupationalsegregation: industrial in towns, rural in the country. In a town where there are so many peasants I would have expected a greaterblurringof the edges between town and country. It is really surprisingindeed, however, that the connotationsof town and country should be are the reverseof what we are accustomedto: country-dwellers and I heard them referredto as "people called "foresi,"outsiders, of no account" whose interestsare not consideredwhen o+hers are makingplans which affect them. Althoughas much might be said by farmersin Britainor the U.S.A., the Pisticciascriptionof incivility goes further than this: country dwellers are rough, liable to violent action, not subject to common rules of cleanlinessand decency.Womenare said to becomelewd and lascivious when they go outside the built-up areas of the town; and this suggests that country dwellers are not born outsidersbut they become so, more or less rapidly, because of their environment. This is the reverseof what is often said about countrymenin other areas of the world: hardworking,reservedand peaceful, they ought to be the guardians of morality and traditional standards,in contrastto the townsmenwhose traditionalgroups, values and institutionsought to be dissolvedin a processof imof relationships. personalisation Pisticci town is where a man's most stable relationships-with his wife, daughter and mother-are acted out, and where the proper quality of these is achieved by the instruction of the church, and maintainedby the reciprocalobservationof neighbours. A townsmandoes not achieve his ends by violence, but is clean and ingratiating;he can be politically importantbecause he himself has authority,or becausehe has accessto it as a kins-



man or client; he has a reputationand a standing which are assessedbefore actions are done which might damage his interests. Of course,this is an oppositionof stereotypes, not a behavioural statistic: a countrymanis consideredviolent, a townsmansubtle and polite; a countrywoman presumedto be lecherousinsteadof demure and pious-a country family to be poor and powerless, rather than establishedand influential. If you ask a townsman about a countrymanhe knows, he will give an account of him which may be very differentfrom the one I have given; but if he doesn't know him, his account will be much the same as mine. of the to a classification So, the settlementpattern corresponds local environmentinto two main parts--town and country.And these are defined by Pisticcesi in terms of the sorts of human behaviourthey expect to find in each context: hence, in terms of the sort of relationshipwhich is appropriateto each. Without judging the issue of which depends on which, we might note that the conceptualdivision into town and countryis one of the social controls which influence people's decisions about where they shall live: most Pisticcesi take it for granted that they will live in town. And the very strong associationof women with town makes it difficultfor men to accept that their women should work in the country.The reluctanceto use female labour is one factor which affects what sort of agricultureis predominant in Pisticci. The general economic effects of the settlement pattern on agriculture are well-known. In order to farm his land a man must travel to it. Transportnowadaysmay be by bus, and the big landowners provide lorries to carry their labourers out to the estates.It is difficult,however,to carrya plow or a sack of grain or firewood on a bus; and many still use a donkey or mule or horse for transport,as everyonedid until fairly recently.Once a man has an animal for transporthe must travel out to the country everythree or four days, even if he has no workto do, in order to get fodder for the animal. Such beneficial effects of this nomadic agricultureas the ability to spread risks over a number of scattered holdings in different areas with different soils and weathers are out-balancedby the time spent in travelling from and back. The utility of performthe town to the smallholdings in the countrybecomesmore margitasks but small necessary ing nal when a man has to make a two, three or four hour journey.



It is difficult to keep cows or other animals in the country and to live in the town: land is therefore used chiefly as arable or orchard, and this can be uneconomic use of lands which were better left as pasture. These are effects of the settlement pattern which lead to that South Italian anomaly-the extensive farming of smallholdings. The connection between concentrated settlements and scattered3 and subdivided4 holdings is well-known to geographers and historians in South Italy: the big country towns are the only possible centre for the peasants' dispersed and insecure undertakings (Rossi-Doria 1956:19). To settle on the land a peasant would need to decide which of his fragments he would settle on: even if he decided that the increased risk of concentrating his effort in one area was compensated by the time saved on journeys, he might have to decide between maximising reputation or maximising income from intensive farming. Another factor in the relation between settlement pattern and type of farming is the systematic insecurity of tenure; nobody builds houses on land they do not own with full legal title; and there is some evidence to suggest that even legal titles are not held for long enough to make it worthwhile to build houses in the country. I have calculated that the average duration of tenure for each plot of land in an area of about 1,200 acres in Pisticci was rather less than 15 years during the period 1930-62. This may seem surprising when we consider that peasants are generally thought to be attached to their land, if not emotionally, at least over long periods of time. A third factor is joint tenure: land is frequently
3 The "homogeneous agricultural zone" of plain, in which Pisticci is included for statistical purposes, has 40% of its holdings in one piece, another 40% in two or three pieces, and 19% in from four to ten pieces. (ISTAT 1962: 28). This gives a rough idea: the figures are for formal property rights only. In my experience men have informal rights often to the greater part of the land they cultivate; also the agricultural census does not show tenancies by tenant, but by owner. Both informal and use rights may fragment a peasant's activity as much as scattered property. 4 The same zone (see note 3) contains 7,779 properties distributed by size as follows: 0- 1.50 ha.: 26% 1.51- 3.0 ha.: 13% 3.1 - 4.50 ha.: 10% 4.51-10.0 ha.: 39%* ha.: 12% more than 10.0 *This includes all Agrarian Reform holdings created in 1951 from fewer, bigger, estates.



held not by single individualsbut by groupsof two, three or four people, and groups of ten to fourteen people are known. This also limits the sort of choices which people can make about where they live. At the same time, the Pisticci settlementpattern is one which allows peasants to set up nuclear householdswhen they marry, and to have an endowment of land, without causing the total disruption of their families of origin. The typical pattern of Pisticci land transfersbegins and ends with marriage.A person usually gets his first holding from his parents as a gift when he and his spouse set up their own household: as their parentsdie, they may acquire more land by inheritance;and they may also inherit from other kin or buy land. From the time he marries until the time his children marry a man is at his peak in terms of property ownership and productivity; when his children marry, and establishtheir own households,each takes a part of the patrimony with him. Usually parents retain a part of the holding until they die: even though they may not farm it themselves they will keep formal rights to it, and may assertthem as a sanctionagainstdisrespectful children.5 The period of maximum economic activity in a man's life is necessarilythe period of maximum political activity, and this is most convenientlycarried on in the town. Also, of course, the holdings we are talking about are generally small, and a man has to be in a positionto take up other opportunitiesof earning an income at short notice: his abilityto do this is increased,as I shall suggest, by living in town rather than in an isolated house in the country. Yet another reason for living in town is that a man during this period of his life is responsiblefor woman who are sexually active: his wife and later his daughters.They are supervisedmost easily when there are neighboursto co-operate in the task. A marriage-centered in a society cycle of property-ownership in which property is farm land, and in which children marry before their parents die or become senile, seems to require that farmersshould not live on the land. If they are to relinquishall
5 I made a special study of some 1,200 acres in Pisticci which were fairly typical of the rest of the countryside. In 1962 some 70% of this area had been acquired from parents; and rather more than half of this land had been conveyed while the parents were alive.



or part of their land they must not be irremovably attached to it. The implication of this is that houses in the town are treated differently from agricultural land, and the evidence supports this. Houses cannot be divided among heirs as land can, althoughunlike land-they can be built ex novo. Since most Pisticcesi have more children than houses, some sort of priority has to be established and this is a traditional matter: daughters have priority. It is unknown for a son to receive a house from his parents while a daughter goes without; and while parents may build or buy houses for their extra daughters, I never heard of this being done for a son: if they are so rich, they can expect a daughter-in-law who will have one of her own. Houses, like land, are generally transmitted at marriage;6 and a girl's parents will try to acquire one for her while she is growing up: they may build one, or add a storey to their own, or buy an existing one or two if they have many. But Pisticcesi certainly desire to arrange their family around them in this way; and a deciding factor between two houses up for sale or rent may be that one is near the parental house, or near a sister's house. A consequence of this is that neighbourhoods-ego-centered sets of two or three streets-are woman-based, though not in any lineal sense. And this is another point which, together with the fact that town houses-homes-are owned by women, we must add to the points made earlier about men's most stable relationships being with women and centred on the town. So far I have argued as if all Pisticcesi men were landowning peasants. This is not true. There are landless farm labourers as well as "industrial" labourers. But it is legitimate to speak of them as one relatively homogeneous category for several reasons. Industrial workers are a very recently formed category, and do not yet have influence on the fundamental institutions of Pisticcisettlement pattern, transmission of property and family life and morals. Nor are they independent of them: they share the attitudes of those who live in town and work in the country, and behave like them. Farm labourers not only work the land as smallholders do, but generally aspire to their attributes: if they
6 It is not a form of matrilineal inheritance as is sometimes made out. In the simplest case, property rights pass from mother to daughter, and effective control from father-in-law to son-in-law.



can't become lawyers, doctors and schoolteachers,members of the easy class, they would become either smallholdersor industrial labourers.For the bracciantenullatenentethe smallholders are the dominant group in the community,and their \,alues are the dominant values. This is not to say that the smallholders control the community;nor that their values are peculiar.They do mediate the dominant values, however; and in some sense they are the central categorywithin Pisticci. That is, the distinctions between "industrial" and "agricultural" labourers,and beand "self-employed" are not very significant tween "labourers" and fragmenones; and the typicalcomplexof underemployment tation is not limited to agriculturalworkersnor to manual workand professional ers, but is commonamong clerks,schoolteachers workersas well. Underemploymentin agricultureis at a very high level. The labour force can supply 965,937 man-dayseach year: the land demands567,741 man-dayseach year, or 68.77% of the supply.7 The non-agriculturallabour force in 1961 was 1,750, and of these 371%(649) were in manufacturing-were craftsmenand artisans. Another 63% (1,096) were builder's men, and five others were employed by the electricitycompany. In 1961 only eight local businessesemployed more than five men, and the largest of these was the municipal road-sweepingand garbage collection group of 19 men. Of the ten building firms which operatedmore or less continuously,only two regularlyemployed more than five men. In 1961, although a large petrochemical factory was begun in the valley below Pisticci, and most of the builder's men found work there, when the factory was completed in 1964 the building labourerswere laid off and a new work-forcerecruitedamong young unmarriedmen and women who were then given special training: about 300 Pisticcesiwere employed there in 1965. Other sources of work exist: the municipalityruns a public works departmentwhich gives temporary jobs on a short-term, public relief basis, as does the Although no neat calculationsare possible, ForestryCommission.
7 This is calculated as follows. The 1961 census gives 1,970 men and 1,754 women as principally occupied in agriculture. The working year, allowing for 70 public holidays, is 294 days. And a woman-day is counted as three-quarters of a man-day. From Cupo (1965) Appendice Tab. 41, I calculate the labour demand per hectare for the Metapontino as 26.5 man days per annum. The farm land of Pisticci is 21,414 hectares.



as they are for agriculture, it is fairly clear that there is a great deal of underemployment in the so-called industrial sector. In Pisticci the advantages of working in industry are the shorter hours and the quick and sure return: but for the 1,000 building workers employment is as insecure as it is for farm workers. In fact the distinction between the occupational groups is not so clear-cut as the census makes it seem. Many smallholders, for example, work not only their own land, but other people's as well: whether they count as labourers or as smallholders can seem arbitrary. Even a well-established smallholder who has a special skill will earn a wage when he can by doing jobs for his friends. There is a similar fringe area between peasants (smallholders or labourers) and industrial workers. Most farm labourers hope to get at least some public maintenance work; most bricklayers and building labourers work also on the land when they can: and some have land of their own which they farm themselves. This multiplicity of interest is recognised, and Pisticcesi said that the pace of the building trade is to some extent regulated by the farm seasons: a labourer may have to take time off to sow or harvest, and so on. This pluralism is not confined to those who work wholly with their hands. Of the twenty or so men who both have law degrees and are registered practitioners, not more than three live by law alone: several teach French in the state schools as well as writing legal letters or recovering debts for their kin; others go into local politics, which can be indirectly rewarding. Established schoolmasters usually have a competence from their jobs, but are often employed only in the mornings or afternoons: it is quite common for them to take an active interest in their family holdings and, although it is not proper for them to hoe or plough, they may well turn their hand to skilled jobs, such as pruning or grafting "for relaxation"-skilled labourers are expensive to hire. Doctors, apart from their usual pluralism (insurance clinics, private practice and state service), tend to be from among the richest families, since the training is costly, and they may have quite important farms to look after. Artisans and shopkeepers commonly have land which they cultivate either by hiring labourers or by putting it out at rent. Just as the insufficiency of individual plots of land gives rise to fragmented farms-having several insufficient plots in different



areas--so the insufficiencyof individual jobs throughout the economy gives rise to fragmented incomes. Agricultural resourcesare neither more nor less sufficientthan other resources: except for a few people none, singly, providesa sufficientincome, nor a full-time occupation. While there is, very broadly, a polarity between industrial and agricultural,most people are distributedsomewherein the middle of the continuum; and the usual connotations of peasant agriculture-seasonality, underemployment and undercapitalisation-apply equally to the sowhich called industriesof Pisticci. It is not only the smallholdings are fragmented: all economic resources are fragmented in Pisticci.8 This ratherlong descriptionwas not intendedsimply to prove that for present purposes I am justified in generalizing from peasantsfor all Pisticcesi.Just as the town is the integratingfactor in the insecure and fragmented undertakings of Pisticci peasants,so it is the integratingfactor in fragmentedeconomic activity outside agriculture.The town is a centre for dispersed jobs as much as it is for dispersedplots of land: all journeysare simpler when they are outwards from a centre of communications (poor as these may be), ratherthan through the centre or is an acrosscountry.Within the town the ease of communication important factor: men hear more easily when and which jobs are available because news spreads more quickly than in the country.Because they live in a town, Pisticcesipeasantsare not attached to the land as they might be if they lived on it: they can leave it when their childrenmarry,they can leave it to find other work. Also, when a peasant decides to open a shop or a wine cellar, for example, he does not have to abandon his land nor does he have to move his householdfrom the town to the country to live near his shop or to make way for the man who will cultivate his land. Because he lives in town he can remain uncommittedto the new venture until it may be a success: in the meantime he farms his land with hired labour or, if he is more sure, he puts it out at rent. Becausehe is not attachedto his
8 I would not give the impression that as a result of this combination of different income fragments each Pisticcese succeds in earning a decent living. This is not the place to discuss labour migrants, except to note that their jobs in North Italy or elsewhere in Europe should be seen as another income fragment, like their various and inadequate home jobs, rather than as an escape from a rejected environment: temporary labour migrants are conforming, not rebelling.



for land, the risksof social mobilityare less and the opportunities it are more. Resourcesare insufficient, but at the same time they are fairly Pisticcesi have a stake in the community, most widely distributed; and they are reluctant to emigrate permanentlyto a new life elsewhere. Throughout the heroic age of Italian emigration common land was distributedin Pisticci, mostly to people who had none before. The majorityof the populationhad some possibility of livelihood which kept them there and made them acutely competitive for those supplementaryresources which were necessaryif not for subsistence,at least to satisfy social needs and aspirations for mobility.9A simple consequenceof the settlementpattern is that peasantryand gentry live in relatively close contact, and the typical relationshipof clientage, I preoccursthat much more frequentlythan in societieswhere sume,10 gentlemen-rentiers, merchants, lawyers, doctors, bureaucrats, teachers and priests-exploit peasant villagersfrom a distance; the relationshipis also, I suspect more subject to informalsanctions than in othersocieties. The period of his life when a man is most politicallyactive is while his children are growing up. He does not acquire adult status until he is married and has children, until he has the of a family to support. When he has fulfilled this responsibility responsibilityand his children are married with householdsof their own he retiresfrom active politics. By politics I mean all use of power to make or influence decisionsabout the distribution of goods: subsidies,jobs, civic amenities,land, water, roads, as the case may be. The importanceof living in towns duringthis period of life can hardly be overestimated: a man who lives in
9 The connection between diffusion of property and a low rate of permanent emigration cannot be made clear very easily. Here it is a supposition based on: (a) The evidence of returned emigrants of the period 1900-1914 who say that there were not many Pisticcesi where they had been: this, chain migration notwithstanding, is shaky ground. (b) The fact that Pisticci has a population growth higher than the regional average (Pisticci 1861-1961: 100-225; Basilicata: 100-124). (c) The fact that between 1861 and 1945 from one quarter to one third of the territory of Pisticci came under the plough. For a broad statistical survey of emigration, property distribution and political behaviour, see Macdonald (1963). 10 know of no cross-cultural measure for the frequency or intensity of I clientage relations.



the country is at disadvantage in the competition to direct goods himself. He does not in fact have such opportunities to establish and cultivate special relationships, or to maintain them by bringing informal sanctions to bear. He is not, ipso facto, interested in advancing his family by political activity-though he may be keen to advance it by his own and his wife's hard work. But hard manual work, physical contact with earth, is much disparaged in Pisticci, and this tends to surprise people with an urban stereotype of peasants. Perhaps it is because Pisticcese peasants are so much in contact with their gentry that they share urban dislike of hard unrewarding work: a man who works the land must be poor. Pisticcese think, or recognise, that their normal behaviour is different from that of nearby communities, and they can be tiresomely communicative about how odd what they do in the ordinary course of things must appear to visiting North Italians or Englishmen. They know that certain actions which can be required of them and from which, on the whole, they will gain prestige in Pisticci, are criminal acts punishable by law. A Pisticcese therefore gets his honour or dishonour from informal and local sanctions, from the praise and blame of his neighbours. It -depends in the first instance on his neighbours, rather than on his political or other associates, because it is they who observe and comment on his behaviour, who are in the best position to know him and his women. For it is fundamentally on his behaviour towards his women that he is assessed: whether or not he clothes and feeds them adequately, and whether or not he is sufficiently careful to control their sexual activity. While men of necessity range freely over town and country, women are properly confined to the few streets around their houses. They may go out of the neighbourhood to church, to the houses of kin, to the shops: but if they go out "too often", they are criticised. Men spend little time in the neighbourhood: even in the evenings they may go out rather than stay at home. The neighbourhood therefore tends to be a community of women, and informal sanctions are exercised chiefly by women, and' control men's relations with women. Because men know that their actions will be observed and commented by women they toe the line when making decisions about clothes, about housekeeping money, about furnishing and decorating their houses, about schools for



children. By keeping his women in town a man knows, too, that they will be observed, and their behaviour praised or criticised. A man's claim to adult status is based on his rights and duties as head of a growing household. His duties are chiefly economic: his wife has exclusive rights to his economic services and if he neglects these rights, or if he fails in his obligation to provide her with what she needs, he loses his claim to status and prestige. His rights are chiefly sexual: he has exclusive rights to his wife's sexual services, and in theory to dispose of his daughters'. If he fails in his exercise of these rights, he loses his claims to status and prestige. A man who takes his women out of town to work is not fulfilling his duty to provide their keep; he is also abstracting them from the informal jurisdiction of neighbours, hiding them away in the country, possibly (Pisticcesi say, probably) because he has something to hide. He excludes himself from the possibility of having his status affirmed, his reputation assessed, and cuts himself off from those sources of power without which, so they say, a man cannot earn his living. In this essay I talked first about the settlement pattern, systems of transmission and inheritance of land and houses, land fragmentation and land use. These are the basic coinage of talk about peasant communities, and I tried to show how the settlement pattern creates the possibility of a certain type of transmission of land, and excludes other types of system. If land is held for relatively short periods, and transmitted at the owners' childrens' marriages, then a complementary way of transmitting houses is required. The basic connection of central settlement and scattered holdings is the key to this complex set of interdependent agricultural institutions, and it also limits the choices among the various technically feasible types of land use. I then went on to say that the central phenomenon-central settlement and fragmentation-was apparent in all sectors of the economy, not just in agriculture. Because underemployment is universal, virtually all incomes in Pisticci are derived from several sources: all incomes are fragmented, and the occupational categoriesindustrial, agricultural, clerical-break down in the competition for a livelihood. Resources are scarce, competition for them is acute; and since patrons are in town, their clients have a strong incentive to live there too; the close contacts between patrons



and clients may make clientage a commoner relationship in Pisticci than in peasant societies without a central settlement shared by both peasants and gentry: it certainly makes it possible for each to secure the relationship with informal pressures and appears to increase the diffusion of gentleman's values about manual labour among peasants. These are reasons for living in town, even though in some cases greater efficiency might be achieved if people lived on the land. A man's life cycle is such that he needs the most political help when he is at the height of his productive capacity, when he needs most to work and when his status is most precarious: his duties to earn a satisfactory living and to control his women combine to make him a townsman. These duties are supported by moral sanctions which offer him high prestige but which operate only in town. I think this essay has some relevance to a general discussion of peasant communities: compared to Chinese or Indian peasants, Pisticcesi seem anomalous. When Redfield (1960: 60-79) propounded his summary of the universal peasant's view of the good life, he drew objections and criticisms, so far as I can calculate, from nearly every sociologist who had worked in South Italy: like other South Italians, the Pisticcesi are not attached to the land, but regard it instrumentally; they do not believe in the prime virtue of hard productive labour in the fields, or regard themselves as morally superior to those who live off an unearned income. If this is generally true of peasants elsewhere, I think that the differences of Pisticci can be explained in terms of the structural complex I have described here. Finally, I call this social control because people's possibilities for choice, and hence for action, are limited by the particular interrelation of institutions: if we want to answer questions such as-Why do Pisticcesi divide their land when their children marry? Why don't they have mixed farms?-the answers, to be sociologically satisfying, ought to include a description of the settlement pattern. And we must refer to the fragmentation of incomes and the scarcity of resources, if we are to answer even such questions as Why do they not form successful co-operatives? or, Why is there so little class-struggle in Pisticci? In short, I have tried to illustrate the point that a description of the social controls of a society is coterminous with a description of its social structure.





P. L.

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