Legacies of Violence: History, Society, and the State in Sardinia

By Antonio Sorge

© 2015

The inhabitants of highland Sardinia proudly declare a long history of resistance to outside authority. Many even celebrate the belief that “not even the Roman Empire reached this far.” Yet, since the late nineteenth century, the Italian government has pacified and integrated the mountain districts of the island into the state, often through the use of force.

In Legacies of Violence, Antonio Sorge examines local understandings of this past and the effects that a history of violence exercises on collective representations. This is particularly the case among the shepherds of the island, who claim to embody an ancient code of honour known as balentia that they allege to be uncorrupted by the values of mainstream Italian society. A perceptive ethnography of the mobilization of history in support of a way of life that is disappearing as the region’s inhabitants adopt a more mobile, cosmopolitan, and urbane lifestyle, Sorge’s work demonstrates how social memory continues to shape the present in the Sardinian highlands.

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Product Details

  • Series: Anthropological Horizons
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP003986

  • PUBLISHED JUN 2015

    From: $25.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

    ISBN 9781442627291
  • PUBLISHED JUN 2015

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    Regular Price: $63.00

    ISBN 9781442649897
  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

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    Regular Price: $29.95

Quick Overview

In Legacies of Violence, Antonio Sorge examines highland Sardinia’s long history of resistance to outside authority and the effects that a history of violence exercises on collective representations.

Legacies of Violence: History, Society, and the State in Sardinia

By Antonio Sorge

© 2015

The inhabitants of highland Sardinia proudly declare a long history of resistance to outside authority. Many even celebrate the belief that “not even the Roman Empire reached this far.” Yet, since the late nineteenth century, the Italian government has pacified and integrated the mountain districts of the island into the state, often through the use of force.

In Legacies of Violence, Antonio Sorge examines local understandings of this past and the effects that a history of violence exercises on collective representations. This is particularly the case among the shepherds of the island, who claim to embody an ancient code of honour known as balentia that they allege to be uncorrupted by the values of mainstream Italian society. A perceptive ethnography of the mobilization of history in support of a way of life that is disappearing as the region’s inhabitants adopt a more mobile, cosmopolitan, and urbane lifestyle, Sorge’s work demonstrates how social memory continues to shape the present in the Sardinian highlands.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Anthropological Horizons
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “Antonio Sorge’s book is a well-written, even lyrical, ethnography that raises important issues regarding the attempts of relatively remote people in modern or postmodern western society to cling to some of their presumed cultural distinctiveness.”


    David Kertzer, Professor of Anthropology and Italian Studies, Brown University; Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'The Pope and Mussolini'

    Legacies of Violence is a highly innovative work that makes a significant contribution to the debate on Mediterranean societies.”


    Christian Giordano, Chair of Social Anthropology, Université de Fribourg

    “Sorge’s Legacies of Violence is a model ethnography – historically deep, rich in nuance and texture, and theoretically informed. If you want to know how local identities – those associated with violence in this case – are created, how they are performed and maintained, even when their material basis is increasingly threadbare, this is the book for you. Relevant far beyond Sardinia.”


    James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology; Co-Director, Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University
  • Author Information

    Antonio Sorge is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University.
  • Table of contents

    1. Introduction

    2. Landscape and History

    3. On Barbarism

    4. Anachronistic Men

    5. Divergent Visions

    6. Cohesion and Community

    7. Conclusion

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