MAURIZIO BETTINI

Against Roots

Tradition, Identity, Memory

Can we belong to a tradition without being its prisoner? Can we imagine our identity without resorting to the metaphor of roots? The answer is yes: one only need reflect on the authentic meaning of these words. Identity, an indefinable entity, desperately needs metaphors in order to be dealt with. Tradition is not a thing one inherits genetically. Memory does not correspond to a mechanical transmission from one generation to the next. These are all entities that need to be put together and taught, step by step. "Roots" are, ultimately, a deceptive and exclusionary image.

Maurizio Bettini, classicist and author, teaches Classical Philology at the University of Siena, where he also directs the Anthropology of Ancient World Centre.

series "Voci"
pp. 112, 978-88-15-23465-0
publication year 2012