As Ida Susser writes in reference to Belmonte's Broken
Fountain, "good ethnographies have long lives." This classic
of urban anthropology, one of the most acclaimed ethnographies of
recent years, offers vivid, literary descriptions of Fontana del
Re, an impoverished Neapolitan neighborhood. Belmonte documents the
struggles of Neapolitans surrounded by crumbling buildings and
economic insecurity. He details family dynamics as well as the
working of Naples's informal economy, the day-to-day struggle for
economic subsistence, and the intermittent begging and thieving of
the young. Taking us from the bustling, vibrant, and gritty streets
and alleyways of Naples to the kitchen tables of poor Neapolitan
homes, Belmonte resists simplistic depictions of the poor. Instead,
he presents subtle, compelling portraits and analyses that capture
the emotional, social, and economic lives of his subjects.
In addition to the continuing relevance of his insights into the
effects of poverty, Belmonte's willingness to reflect on his own
reactions and emotions while in the field has influenced a
generation of scholars. In The Broken Fountain, he
poignantly describes the experience of living alone in a strange
urban environment and his interactions with the residents of
Fontana del Re.
This edition includes a foreword by Ida Susser and an afterword
by Pellegrino D'Acierno and Stanislao G. Pugliese.
Subjects: Sociology, History, Anthropology
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