From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

“Ognuno fa sentire la sua voce”: rileggere Rocco Scotellaro e il Sud subalterno nella condizione postcoloniale

Roberto Derobertis


“Ognuno fa sentire la sua voce”: rereading Rocco Scotellaro and the subaltern South in the postcolonial condition. Rocco Scotellaro (1923-1953), writer and social researcher, was a committed intellectual who struggled with the peasants of his birthplace by taking part in land occupations in 1950s southern Italy. Within the frame of conflicting relationships of subalternity and dominance between the North and the South of Italy, Scotellaro’s texts are reread as representations of southern Italian farmlands as places of exploitation and racial discrimination. A selection of his poetry and prose is analyzed in the context of our postcolonial condition in order to understand, in the background, contemporary events such as the new central role of farmlands and migrant peasants’ struggles. They are postcolonial subjectivities that unsettle the relationship between the local and the global in the same South that was crossed by Scotellaro and ‘his’ subalterns, who were not themselves homogeneous subjectivities with regard to the official identity of the nation-State, nor to the stereotypical Italian southerners. Moreover, the archive of our ‘Mezzogiorno’ (Southern Italy) is partially reopened by reconsidering its past of supposed opposition and passivity to modernization by taking into account processes of resistance and conquest of autonomy by subaltern classes. Finally, considering Scotellaro’s political and literary experience as part of the history of the entanglement between colonialism, neocolonialism and late capitalism, the locations of the Mezzogiorno are focused within the texture of the Global South by asking which tensions among exploitation, race, migration, and labour restructuring have been crossing our South.




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