La Public History nella folk-biology marina: storia di cernie fra il Salento e Procida


Folk-biology is the study of how common people think about and connect to nature by assigning names and classifications to plants and animals. Each classification gives rise to a taxonomy, i.e. a set of denominations, which in the case of folk-biology it is obviously made up of slang, popular terms; and this is what differentiates it from scientific taxonomy. So, on the one hand there is science, that classifies the organic world into classes, assigning them the corresponding scientific names, according to the Linneian definition in gender and specific difference; on the other hand, there is popular culture, that designates the same individuals by vernacular names, which are certainly all the more detailed as much as this culture is familiar with such individuals. This article starts from the study of the popular nomenclature of groupers in Salento given by Igor Agostini, who argued on the basis of his enquiry that one of these species (Epinephelus caninus) is likely to be endangered. From this analysis, that was later extended to Procida, where three of the six species of groupers are largely attested (Epinephelus costae, Epinephelus marginatus, and Polyprion americanus), emerges that the different popular nomenclatures reflect the different survival relationships of the local inhabitants. Fishing. This is precisely the basis of folk-biology.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a9n2p285

Keywords: Folk-biology; Anthropology; Popular culture; Taxonomy; Fishing; South of Italy; Classification of groupers; Groupers endangered

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