Matera 2019

During the mid-fifties the American researcher Edward C. Banfield began his studies on Chiaromonte. A few years later he published a very successful book in the United States causing a number of debates in Italy, stemming from the book’s title 'The moral basis of a backward society'. Even though the name Chiaromonte was replaced with Montegrano, every reference was quite clear, including in the description of the locations and the people’s word.

In his book, Banfield identified the causes of poverty as narrow-mindedness and morally distorted conceptions of the family. This theory was justly criticised, even though it remains an important document for understanding the history of Southern Italy and Chiaromonte; and for designing a future of development.

The project starts from Banfield’s journey, unfolding through the places he visited and described. An open-air exhibition becomes a virtual tour animated by shows and performances for the occasion, interpreted by ballet dancer and musician Erika Di Crescenzo. Followed by an open meeting at the 'Lodovico Nicola di Giura' museum attended by Kevin Kosar, Banfield’s pupil and expert, Laura Banfield, the scientist’s daughter, Franco Arminio, an expert in historical villages and Ferdinando Mirizzi, director of the Department of European and Mediterranean Cultures at the University of Basilicata. At the end, the visitors can take part in a food and wine experience in Chiaromonte’s wine cellars, a theatrical workshop and a children’s parade.

Co-produced by 
Municipality of Chiaromonte
for Capital for one day

Project Partners:

Osservatorio Scientifico Edward Banfield
Pro Loco "Le Torri"
Museo Archeoantropologico "Lodovico Nicola di Giura"