To Be a Valenzano. When jewellery production is local identity

What is the basis of a local identity? Through different models and analytical approaches, the anthropological community has answered this interrogative by considering the possible sense of geographical belonging that a population may feel to the territory, and evidencing the relationship between individuals and a shared idea of community. In this article, however, I want to display an example where the public recognition of a local identity is not justified by any principle of geographical belonging or residentiality. Instead, it is strictly linked to the participation of the individual to the local production milieu. The principal aim of this article is to assert that in the one hand, the attribution of a local identity is the recognition of a link between the individual and an imagined idea of community that embraces and is influenced by the specific socio-economic aspect of the locale; in the other, the practices concerning the individual’s access socio-economic milieu influence his/her ascribability as a member of the community. Moreover whilst the very idea of imagined community (cf. Anderson 1991) identifies into a unique representation the socio-economic aspects with a depiction and some elements of the geography of the locale, the recognisability of such representation lays on few elements, which I describe as community-marks. In order to achieve such task, I am going to present the case of Valenza, a small Italian city that is one of world’s most prominent centres of jewellery production and that is situated about 100 km south-west from Milan.