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Title: Consuming Italy : contemporary material culture and ethnographic approaches in modern languages
Author: Wall, Georgia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 5823
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis has two interlinked objectives. One is to explore some of the meanings projected onto ideas of Italy in the UK in relation to Italian mobility patterns. The second is to argue for the development of the study of material culture and ethnographic approaches in contemporary Modern Languages research and teaching. Taking into account a range of ‘Italian stuff’; public spaces such as cafés and bars, narrative texts and recipe books, a celebrity figure, and drawing on personal narratives as recounted in interview, the thesis critically engages with the contemporary value of images of traditional Italy from a Modern Languages perspective. The aim is to practically demonstrate how ethnography and the study of material culture can be used to complement the conventional disciplinary emphasis of Modern Languages on critical analysis of written and visual texts and on linguistic competence. Drawing on the work of a variety of ethnographic theorists of the significance of the everyday and the unexpected, of the interplay between power and selfhood, and of class and the inscription of value, the thesis explores the ideals read into notions of Italy’s authenticity across different sites in terms of the tensions between the desirability of a grounded, local identity and the simultaneous need to be able to distance oneself from it, generational class difference and its enduring memory, the diversity of rural and urban experience, and self-understanding and expression. Via case-studies of different sites and an investigation into the pertinence of an ethnographic reflexivity in the context of language learning, it places relevant contemporary anthropological, linguistic and sociological theory in dialogue with existing calls for renewal from within Modern Languages to practice an ethnographic approach to the study of language and culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PC Romance languages