Sunday, February 17, 2019

 

Patria Chica

J.A. Pitt-Rivers (1919-2001), The People of the Sierra (New York: Criterion Books, 1954), pp. 30-31 (footnote omitted):
To sum up, then, the pueblo is a highly centralised community, both structurally and also emotionally. In Spanish political jurisprudence it is the "natural" unit of society compared with which the state is an artificial structure. In many aspects it resembles other rural communities of the Mediterranean. All are composed of agricultural workers living under urban conditions, with a background of dry-farming and olive cultivation. All possess a strong sense of local patriotism; devotion to the patria chica in Spain; in Italy campanilismo, attachment to the local campanile, the highest building in the village. A conception of community based upon locality runs through the cultural idiom of Southern Europe, which is demonstrated in many ways: for example, in their legal codes the preference for the principle of jus soli, in contrast to the Germanic jus sanguinis; in the institution of local patron saints, in everyday conversation the importance attached to their place of birth.

In fact, the Greek word polis far more nearly translates "pueblo" than any English word, for the community is not merely a geographical or political unit, but the unit of society in every context. The pueblo furnishes a completeness of human relations which makes it the prime concept of all social thought. That is why Argolla uses the word "pueblo" in a way which recalls Sophocles. During the Reconquest pueblos were founded, with special municipal charters, for the express purpose of defence against the Moors. And in the archives of later pueblos the vestiges of a concept of purpose may be detected. Upon the foundation of the town hall of La Carolina in 1835, the municipality solemnly pledged the pueblo to defend, among other more temporal things, the "misterio de la Purisima Concepci├│n".
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