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Reconsidering the Mediterranean ‘agro-town’ model and escaping a vision of an ‘unchanging’ Italian South


  • Dan Curtis

    (Universiteit Utrecht)


The Mediterranean landscape is today characterised by large concentrated settlements known as ‘agro-towns’, often melancholically depicted as grim and impoverished. Their persistence and proliferation is not yet well explained. In this article, by focusing on Southern Italy it is suggested that they can be associated with high economic polarisation consolidated over the long term. However, far from subscribing to a view of Southern Italian society as something that was completely unchanging from the medieval period right up to the twentieth century, it is argued that this continuity was only possible because dominant social groups used a number of very dynamic and flexible methods to maintain the status quo.

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  • Dan Curtis, 2012. "Reconsidering the Mediterranean ‘agro-town’ model and escaping a vision of an ‘unchanging’ Italian South," Working Papers 0034, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0034

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Buringh, Eltjo & Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2009. "Charting the “Rise of the West”: Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(02), pages 409-445, June.
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    Mediterranean; agro-town; Italy; latifundia; polarisation; underdevelopment;

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