Litho-poiesis: For an anthropology of Apulian dry-stone corbelled huts
How to explain the morphological diversity of dry-stone corbelled huts found in Apulia region? Their diversity manifests itself mainly in the outer shell whereas the inner structure remains invariant (corbelling technique, dry-stone technology). In contrast with previous theories, the author indicates with litho-poiesis the fabrication process, not only functional but also symbolic and agentive, which has been carried out, with different degrees of know-how, by the dry-stone builders especially during the 19th century. The different choices and alternatives that the builders had to deal with during the building process, emphasize two ways in which litho-poiesis has manifested itself: 1. A “collective” process that implied the gradual emergence of local aesthetics and that sometimes has given rise to cases of hybridism; 2. A more individualized process within the local community, which implied the close collaboration between the future hut users on one hand and the specialized dry-stone builders on the other hand, in order to create a construction that has the capacity to stand out from the neighboring ones and therefore, thanks to the greater technical virtuosity that characterizes it, communicates to the viewer the higher social status of the respective owner.
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