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According to the Webster’s dictionary, being respectable means being “decent or correct in character or behavior” or being “fit to be seen.” In this article, I approach “decent behavior” and “fitness to be seen” as the staple factor in the negotiation and the struggle over the place of women in the streets of an Italian city. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Genoa between 2002 and 2005, this article explores how middle-class women perform a classed and gendered respectability to resist their exclusion from an intensely masculinized public realm.


Published as Emanuela Guano. “Respectable Ladies and Uncouth Men: The Performative Politics of Class and Gender in the Public Realm of an Italian City.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 120, no. 475, 2007. © 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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