ethnographic writings

City of vibes: the Rototom Sunsplash.

Analysis of a music and cultural festival, for the last time in Italy.

Dissertation details: ethnography, 10 days fieldwork in Osoppo (Italy) + 7 months writing, not published. Supervisors: Tamisari Franca, Dore Giovanni, Bonesso Gianfranco. Topics: cultural anthropology, cultural studies, anthropology of music. Keywords: festival, music, subcultures, reggae music, Rastafarianism.


It is the most important European reggae festival and, when I did my fieldwork (3 – 12 July 2009), it had achieved its last Italian edition. The Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival was not just a nonstop music concert, but also a 10 days “city” with its cultural traits. In fact, the festival was able to transform Osoppo – a 3,000 inhabitant’s village without any train station in Northeast of Italy – in a town luring over 200,000 people from all over Europe and able to create a business for about 2.5 million euros. Suddenly, after 16 years, it was decided to move it to Benicassim, Spain, where it still takes place.

Key points of the festival were the concerts – and particularly that year, Bunny Wailer’s first-ever show in Italy – and the high diversity range of reggae subgenres, played on different stages and dancefloors. Moreover, along the day, people living in the festival’s camping site could attend meetings on eco-sustainability, Oriental philosophies and a “Reggae University” as well. All around, the astonishing nature of Italian Pre-Alps.

My dissertation expands on ethnographic descriptions and try to figure out how the Rototom Sunsplash developed from an underground 3 days party to a global-scale musical and cultural festival, pointing out the main gist, which determined its increase, such as an independent as well as international mass media coverage, the collaboration with other corporations and foundations and political affairs.


From bailes to bailes: the flows of funk carioca through largo, asfalto and morro.

Ethnography of a changing music genre: prohibition and recognition in the city of great events.

Dissertation details: ethnography, 9 months fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro, not published. Supervisors: Tamisari Franca, De Zorzi Giovanni, Bonifacio Valentina. Topics: urban ethnography, anthropology of music, cultural studies. Keywords: funk carioca, Rio de Janeiro, soundscape, baile funk, favelas.


My research on funk Carioca music genre questioned the relationship between music and metropolis, namely the urban soundscape of Rio de Janeiro and the perception of different urban areas and neighborhoods. Historically, funk Carioca has drawn a geo-historical and cultural path from the morros (the hills hosting the favelas), all the way to the asfalto (the way Carioca people refer to the flat areas inhabited by middle and upper social classes) and reached at least one of the most important public squares of the city. Particularly, the diffusion of bailes funk (funk balls) – focus points of interaction and production of collective identities – stimulated rhetoric and policies which aimed to prohibit funk Carioca and bailes funk in the marginal areas of Rio.

During my fieldwork (2011-2012), Rio saw an exponential increase in public order and security measures due to the large scale sporting events the city was going to host over the upcoming years (Olympics, World Cup, etc.). One of the first consequence of the militarization of favelas (pacificação) was the shutdown of bailes funk. Meanwhile, certain groups of funkeiros (“funk fans” and artists) formed movements aiming to get funk Carioca recognized as “culture” of the city. To do so, they revealed tactics of occupation of symbolic urban areas, such as public squares and some institutional and representative places.

Take a look at the Italian page TESI DI LAUREA



Music and metropolis. Funk carioca’s urban flows across morro, asfalto and largo of Rio de Janeiro

Dada Rivista di antropologia post-globale, Trieste, year III, vol.2, Dec. 2013, pp.135-160.

Considering funk Carioca as a fluid that crossed international and national boundaries, this paper aims to analyze the “urban flows” that has been drawing in the social and urban texture of Rio. It puts at stake the historical trajectory funk Carioca outlined through the milieu of morro, asfalto and largo. Hence, the ethnographic and comparative description of bailes funk suggests that funk Carioca has not undergone a straightforward trajectory, but a synchronic, fluid and dispersive diffusion: it finally reached the largo, but it is still present on both morro and asfalto, where bailes funk differ but still coexist.

Paper details: Italian, 25 pages, online publication.


Funk carioca. A popular and cultural expression of resistance

Quaderni di Thule. Proceedings of the 35th International Congress of Americanists by Circolo Amerindiano, Perugia, 3-10 May 2013.

Deeply entangled with the processes of diffusion and dislocation of the contemporary and globalised world, funk Carioca music genre was born as a hybridisation of North American sounds with the Rio de Janeiro’s soundscape and language. Funk Carioca rapidly turned into the way marginalised people from the favelas express themselves as well as the breaking records music genre in favelas’ parties. In this sense, it is not just a popular culture, but also an ethnographic case of resistance to the global process of standardisation of music. It is the expression of De Certeau’s “tactical dexterity” that popular cultures enact to get round “producers strategies”, as well as an example of how the “local” reinterprets the “global”.

Paper details: Italian, 16 pages, published in the conference proceedings.


Dialogue between clinical epistemology and anthropological epistemology

Antrocom Online Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 9, Num. 2, 2013 , pp.347 – 357.

In the attempt to understand the meaning that different disciplines, namely anthropology and psychotherapy give to the world “travel”, this paper develops the comparison between the “experience of culture” and the “experience of madness”, respectively belonging to these branches of knowledge. Throughout Foucault’s analysis and the post-modern critique, it will be put at stake the production of “scientific” and positivist representations of Otherness – psychiatrists toward “their” mads and anthropologists toward “their” savages. That’s particularly true referring to the Modern Age, when anthropology and psychotherapy developed their epistemological and methodological apparatus. Then, with Post-modernity, both the disciplines underwent a phenomenological turn, which led to a polyphonic and shared knowledge.

Paper details: Italian, 12 pages, paper written for Ethno-psychiatry exam (Mario Galzigna, professor), than published online.