Southern Adriatic and EU. Integrating an anthropology of the absence
Historical and Social Sciences Università degli Studi di Bari Bari, Italy
The contribution focuses on the identity issue in reference to the European integration process. To this end, the case of the Southern Adriatic area ? covering the Italian South-East and the South western Balkans (namely Apulia and Albania) ? will be highlighted. This region shows many reasons of interest for the whole process of European integration, as it represents a kind of hinge between Western civilization and the East, Europe and the Mediterranean, North and South of the World. Our thesis is that, despite the different traditions, cultural heritage, histories, political domain etc., the societies facing on the two sides of the lower Adriatic share common core attitudes. They were forged on the basis of a similar existential framework: the secular condition of peripheral marginality in relation to the hubs of political power. So, the lower Adriatic inhabitants have acquired a particular skill to win the grace of the ruler in office, whoever he was, building, at the same time, an hidden orb in which to preserve their authenticity, their original cultural references. This frame has produced, in the long run, an anti-identitarian peoples constitution, ie an ?anthropology of the absence?, consisting of two complementary dimensions: mimicry and the vernacular order. This ensures both the merger of dissimilarities and the preservation of an impregnable singularity. The anthropology of the absence still emerges strongly in relation to the new political focus with which this region relates nowadays: the European Union. The implemented policies aimed at cohesion and at integration of the peripheral regions are here systematically diverted to reproduce life forms consolidated over the centuries, which evade the fundamental canons of the Western-European model of society. But, far from being included as a disease, the attitude developed in the lower Adriatic could represent a useful suggestion for Europe itself, always faced with the problem of his unresolved identity.