Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Italianità: La Costruzione del Carattere Nazionale

Patriarca, Silvana (Fellow, 2005-06)

Rome: GLF editori Laterza, 2022

From the publisher's description:

"The national character was a central element of the reflections of an important part of the intellectual and political world from the Risorgimento to the Republic, and the discourse on the vices of Italians was also an integral part of the political struggle, in the sense that it was regularly put in place and used as a tool in the battle to define the nation." From the Risorgimento patriots who wanted the Italians to take their destiny in hand, to the fascism that wanted to turn them into a disciplined and militarized mass, up to post-war Italy, in every age the discourse on the national character has assumed different tones and contents. Over time, the analysis of 'Italianness' has helped to draw attention to public life and the quality of citizenship, but they have also been used by nationalists for their chauvinistic purposes, or they have served as an alibi for hiding precise responsibilities. Recurrent negative autostereotypes continued to circulate even when the narratives of 'primates' or 'good people' were invented. But can there really be a hope of change if the character of a people is perceived in this way and if the past has left an almost 'genetic' imprint on it? As Silvana Patriarca well reconstructs, "the idea of ​​national character has an overly heavy ideological burden and is too simplistic to be the vehicle for critical considerations. In every community, and especially in our increasingly globalized societies, the work of self-criticism and collective self-examination requires a different and more complex vocabulary. The emerging challenges of multicultural Italy require new forms of public discourse, less self-referential and more open to the outside world.


Subjects: History;; Italian History; National Identity; Nationalism; Political Culture; Patriotism; Cultural History