Merchants in the City of Art: Work, Identity, and Change in a Florentine Neighborhood

By Anne Schiller

© 2016

This lively and engaging ethnography, written and designed with students in mind, uses the experiences and perspectives of a set of long-time market vendors in San Lorenzo, a neighborhood in the historic center of Florence, Italy, to explore how cultural identities are formed in periods of profound economic and social change.

Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 176 pages
  • Illustrations: 25
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000661

  • PUBLISHED APR 2016
    From: $24.95
    ISBN 9781442634619
  • PUBLISHED APR 2016
    From: $55.00
    ISBN 9781442634626
  • PUBLISHED APR 2016
    From: $19.95

Quick Overview

San Lorenzo, a neighborhood in the historic centre of Florence, and home to a market that has existed since before the Renaissance, is in transition. Globalization pressures—specifically international tourism and immigration—are forcing changes in the way vendors work, which in turn raises larger questions about identity.

Merchants in the City of Art: Work, Identity, and Change in a Florentine Neighborhood

By Anne Schiller

© 2016

This lively and engaging ethnography, written and designed with students in mind, uses the experiences and perspectives of a set of long-time market vendors in San Lorenzo, a neighborhood in the historic center of Florence, Italy, to explore how cultural identities are formed in periods of profound economic and social change.

Product Details

  • Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 176 pages
  • Illustrations: 25
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Like Schiller, I, too, love Florence and have visited it many times, and taught there as well. So I feel very confident in saying that hers is a well-done book, her portrait of the San Lorenzo Market exactly the one I know, too. She cites all the relevant experts: Barth, Bourdieu, Geertz, Goffman, Herzfeld, Kertzer, Turner, as well as many more recent Italian articles and books on Florence. Her knowledge of spoken Italian, particularly its proverbs, appears extensive.
    Gloria Nardini, Journal of Folklore Research

    This fascinating and accessible ethnography provides an insider's look at Florence's San Lorenzo market—one of Italy's most well-known, and traditional, local marketplaces. Like markets throughout Italy, San Lorenzo is undergoing rapid change, and even decline, as the country deals with immigration and globalization pressures, and Schiller effectively captures both the romanticism and the conflicts involved. We tend to forget that iconic sites like San Lorenzo are living things, and that they, too, undergo shifts that reflect the transformations and tensions of the time. This book reminds us of this fact in an empathetic and nuanced way.
    Michael Digiovine, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

    Merchants in the City of Art visits the quotidian side of Florence beyond Renaissance art and architecture to illuminate a fascinating portrayal of history and uncertainty. In a mélange of global tourists, immigrants, and shifting ideas about heritage, Schiller artfully describes the complex politics that mutually threaten, change, and maintain the vibrancy of the San Lorenzo marketplace and the neighborhood surrounding it.
    Walter Little, University at Albany-SUNY
  • Author Information

    Anne Schiller is Professor of Anthropology at George Mason University and Fulbright-Con Il Sud Visiting Professor at the University of Salento, Lecce, Italy. She has conducted research and published extensively on identity and social movements in Italy and Indonesia. She is also active in the field of international education, and writes and presents on issues of cross-border collaboration among universities.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Acknowledgments

    1. San Lorenzo Neighborhood and Its Globalized Market

    A Marketplace in Transition
    Migrations and Complications
    Civic Administration and Politics in San Lorenzo
    Fieldwork as an Apprentice Vendor
    Marketplace Performance in the Theater of Sales
    Some Dilemmas of Fiorentinità

    2. A Mercantile Neighborhood across Time

    A City of Merchants
    San Lorenzo in Medieval and Medicean Times
    Old, New, and Newer Markets
    From Traveling to Stationary Peddlers
    Diversity in the Most Cosmopolitan Part of the City
    Choosing the Right Vendor
    Identity and Heritage in a World Heritage Site

    3. Lives and Livelihoods on Silver Street

    How Some Vendors Got Their Start
    Merchants and Their Merchandise
    Finding Work in San Lorenzo
    Competition in Close Quarters
    The Best Work
    Customer Relations
    Making Cents in San Lorenzo

    4. Into the Heart of Florence

    Long-Term Vendors and Newcomers
    Fixed Merchants and Infringers
    Unlicensed Vending in the Marketplace
    Talking to the Neighbors

    5. Saving San Lorenzo

    A Neighborhood Association
    The Saint Orsola Project and the Search for "Monna Lisa"
    Tsunami on the Market Stands
    Fiorentinità and Its Discontents

    6. Fiorentinità in a Post-Florentine Market

    Bibliography
    Index

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