My ethnographic moment – In Rome

By Richard Falk

Lunch alone in a trattoria in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood of Rome, which is neither fashionable nor touristic. Noisy with students and young people at night, local places to hang out, some occupied spaces.

What struck me – in contrast to the U.S, Germany, even France, where I have recently been – is that Italy, and specifically Rome, is a deep culture that works for its working and middle classes, or put less structurally, for ‘ordinary people.’

Of course, this is an impression, but for me a rather convincing one, and harmonious with a morning cappuccino and croissant at a vibrant bar around the corner from a friend’s apartment where we are staying for a couple of days.

At the trattoria, there were about ten tables in the dining area. At one nearby, two men were playing a card game for small amounts of money with classical Italian faces, aged maybe 60 or 65, and singing and laughing intermittently.Read More »