Peasant Nationalism in an Alpine Valley

Eric R. Wolf

in Pathways of Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223332
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924871 | DOI:
Peasant Nationalism in an Alpine Valley

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This chapter deals with the historical background and symbolic construction of peasant nationalism. The two provinces, St. Felix and Tret, together make up the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige. These represent the outcomes of millennial economic, social, and political processes best by visualizing them in terms of five successive phases: Germanic colonization; growth of the Tyrolese polity; the flowering of capitalist mining and peasant rebellion; Counter-Reformation and its aftermath; and the rise of modern nationalism. In contrast to the Tretters, for whom ethnicity and nationalism hold no appeal, the Felixers maintain a powerful sense of ethnic separateness and nationalist identification. Where Tret is rapidly becoming a settlement of workers who live in the mountains but commute to work by motorcycle or automobile, the Felixers are digging in, in order to continue their peasant existence in the Val di Non.

Keywords: peasant nationalism; St. Felix; Germanic colonization; Tret; Counter-Reformation

Chapter.  5909 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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