The Broken Fountain: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition / Edition 2

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Overview

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.

Columbia University Press

Squalid apartments, young drifters stealing by night, child addicts - all muddy the village well in The Broken Fountain. This is the story of an urban anthropologist's return to field work in an Italian town.

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Editorial Reviews

Anatole Broyard
At a time when we have so much difficulty understanding poverty in our own country, it is interesting to look at some other country's poor, to examine their anger and frustration. . . . The forms taken by their aggressions and their defenses, the configurations of their pride and their sense of self, the degree to which they fall back on love for consolation, or on friendship. . .This is what Thomas Belmonte does in The Broken Fountain.
New York Times Book Review
In a book of uncommon eloquence, Mr. Belmonte . . . has drawn a series of unsparing portraits showing us how these people live.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231133715
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 4/6/2005
  • Series: Columbia Classics in Anthropology Series
  • Edition description: New Foreward and new Afterward
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,034,157
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Belmonte was a professor of anthropology at Hofstra University. Ida Susser is professor of anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her books include Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood; The Castells Reader on Cities and Social Theory; and Wounded Cities: Destruction and Reconstruction in a Globalized World.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the broken fountain in retrospect
Foreword : the anthropologist as humanist
Ch. 1 Paean to the city 1
Ch. 2 Fieldwork in Naples 9
Ch. 3 The Neapolitan personal style 27
Ch. 4 Tragedies of fellowship and community 37
Ch. 5 Family life-worlds 51
Ch. 6 The interpretation of family feeling 79
Ch. 7 The triumvirate of want 103
Ch. 8 Reactions to a disordered world 123
Ch. 9 Conclusion : the poor of Naples and the world underclass 137
Epilogue : return to Naples 145
Afterword : dangerous supplement 199
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