Matteo Sestito*, Lucas Buetje**
Lucie Giorgi: lucie.giorgi[at]univ-amu.fr
Ricardo Guzman: ricardo.guzman[at]univ-amu.fr
Natalia Labrador: natalia.labrador-bernate[at]univ-amu.fr
Nathan Vieira: nathan.vieira[at]univ-amu.fr
*This paper explores the agrarian origins of social capital and collectivism using Italy as a case study. The country displays striking socio-economic and cultural differences within its territory. To a largely inward-looking and mistrusting South is opposed the more dynamic civil society of the central and northern portions of the country, where non-profit organisations abound. This study substantiates empirically a relatively new perspective on the uneven distribution of social capital across the Italian peninsula. Comparing geographically-close communes sharing the same institutional history, it is shown that historical reliance on sharecropping is associated to more voluntary associations today. Sharecropping contracts mandated for an interdependent division of labour in the fields, promoting the formation of large and cohesive families. These larger and denser kin networks ultimately resulted into the collectivistic culture underpinning social participation in contemporary Italy.