Archives of Pathos. Image and Survival in Ernesto De Martino’s interdisciplinary ethnography

Si segnala, sebbene in ritardo, la pubblicazione di un articolo su Ernesto De Martino nel n° 2(1) 2013 di Visual Ethnography


Jasmine Pisapia


By focusing on part of the iconographic production of Italian anthropologist Ernesto De Martino in the 1950s, this article proposes to sketch his objects of study through an insistence on their historiographical value. Within this context, the crises of possession triggered by the Arachnida bites function as so-called “folkloric-religious relics” of Tarantism, and thus come to be considered by the anthropologist as “surviving documents” of a tension between memory and oblivion. Not only does this open the door to a discussion on the relation between the archive and the discipline of anthropology, but also of the archival logistics behind various forms of pathos (close to Aby Warburg’s notion of Pathosformel). These can be traced through the study of key elements of ritualistic mediation. This article investigates the “tools,” such as photographic and filmic imaging devices, by which De Martino sought to contribute to a research on “survivals.”



Ernesto De Martino, Image, Archive, Survival, Possession, Tarantism, Aby Warburg, Italy, Memory, Photography

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