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Ruling CultureArt Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy$
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Fiona Greenland

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226756981

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226757179.001.0001

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Tomb Robbers and Cultural Power from Below

Tomb Robbers and Cultural Power from Below

(p.121) Chapter 4 Tomb Robbers and Cultural Power from Below
Ruling Culture

Fiona Greenland

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on tomb robbing as a social practice in modern Italy. An apparent explosion of tomb robbing activity in the 1960s was the catalyst for a military-police unit dedicated to cultural heritage protection. Today, tomb robbers do their work with official state censure and under the shadow of a sophisticated, nationwide law enforcement apparatus. Interviews with illicit diggers explore the community- and family-level practices that shape and support tomb robbing. Tomb robbers employ discursive strategies to separate themselves from “real” artifact thieves and justify their own activities as more culturally authentic than those of the nation-state apparatus.

Keywords:   tombaroli, clandestine, law, social deviance, local identity, authenticity, discursive strategies, patria, Omero Bordo

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