In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

Synopsis

What was the nature of justice in Italian Fascist society? Through the lens of the case of Luigia Paulovich, a legal appeal filed against the Prefect of Trieste in 1931, In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court demonstrates the inconsistencies of the Fascist attack on traditional political liberties and the incomplete nature of Fascist legal reform. A compelling narrative of an elderly widow's successful challenge to the "italianization" of her surname, the book reveals institutional uncertainty, signs of underlying discontent, and legal opposition to Fascistization in the first decade of Mussolini's rule. It explores the world of Fascist justice in the halls of the Italian Administrative Court, highlighting the interplay of Italian law and the judiciary in the interpretation of Fascist expectations and the enforcement of Fascist policies against the backdrop of inherited cultural, political, and gendered beliefs. Fascist aims to create a "new" society clashed with conservative notions of family, church, and patriotism to affect the perception and practice of justice. Competing visions of nationalism from Italy's Adriatic borderlands, Dalmatia, and Rome show how the persistence of regional cultural and legal particularities impeded Fascist efforts to promote national standardization and enforce government centralization. Focusing on the proceedings of the case revealed in local documents and national court records, the account of the woman who pit Fascist officials against the national government engages legal scholars, historians, onomasticians, and theorists of Fascism, nationalism, and borderlands in debates over the nature of citizenship and the meanings of nationalism, patriotism, and justice. It explores Fascist legal reform and sheds light on the nature of Fascist authority, demonstrating the fragmentation of power, the constraints of dictatorship, and the limits of popular quiescence. The widow's triumph indicates that while Fascist dictatorship appeared in many guises, dissent adopted many masks.

Excerpt

“By decree of the Prefect of Trieste, issued this 26th day of June 1930, the widow Paulovich’s name is restored to the Italian form Paoli.” Asserting her right to maintain her husband’s family name, Luigia Barbarovich Paulovich rejected the Italian form Paoli and launched a legal appeal that challenged fascist authorities working to nationalize the populations in Italy’s eastern borderlands. By the end of 1931, the appeal reached the Administrative Court of the Council of State (Section Four of the Consiglio di Stato) in Rome. Justices at the highest echelons of the fascist judiciary considered the widow’s complaint against the prefect of Trieste and the directive that “restored” her married surname. the appeal was truly extraordinary. of the tens of thousands of people in Italy’s Adriatic border provinces whose surnames the fascists altered between 1927 and 1943, Paulovich was the second of only a dozen who sought legal redress in Rome.

Luigia Barbarovich Paulovich’s case, at the core of this study, offers a window on fascist government officials’ and legal professionals’ response to dynamic conceptions of law, morality, and patriotism. Paulovich’s dispute with local administrative authorities exposes the philosophical dilemmas legal professionals and government representatives faced in the wake of authoritarian takeover and shows how they reconciled liberal training and beliefs with fascist exigencies. It illustrates how, in the climate of shifting perceptions of individual rights and community responsibilities, the Italian legal system and fascist governing system continued to evolve after the “seizure of power,” the crystallization of the dictatorship, and into the “years of consensus.” It demonstrates that some individuals saw Mussolini’s government as a change in Italian leadership but refused to accept fascism as a transformation of the Italian system.

Maneuvering in the interstices of law, morality, and social expectations, Luigia Paulovich set local officials and national jurists at odds. Her objection to the fascist directive forced legal professionals at the prefectural and national levels to articulate the bounds of the government’s authority in efforts to impose a nationalist agenda. Despite the fascist commitment to Italian nationalism, the court rewarded the elderly widow willing to . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.