A mother that protects you: Community performance, identity, and values within the contrade and Palio di Siena




Reid, Jessica Marie

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In this thesis, the Palio horse race and the contrade (neighborhood) structure of Siena Italy are examined. Using thick description and grounded theory, ideas of residency, age, and identity construction are investigated among the contradaioli of Siena. It is of interest to see how these factors affect identity performativity on an individual and societal level. The value and increasing role of contradaioli women will also be discussed, as it is a topic that contradicts initial perceptions of women as a suppressed group. Although residency status within the contrada was previously known as the focal point of identity, over time its significance has shifted to account for a modern world with increased population mobilization. Residency patterns found to exist in Siena are reflected in the type and level of labor contributions made based on how far they lived from their contrada. Despite the initial perception that gender was the main factor that impacted participation and labor contributions, it was revealed that it was not the only significant variable and, in fact, age and residency was a more prominent dynamic to consider.


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Contrada, Identity, Palio, Performativity, Residency, Siena