Italy and the Bourgeoisie: The Re-Thinking of a Class

Italy and the Bourgeoisie: The Re-Thinking of a Class

Italy and the Bourgeoisie: The Re-Thinking of a Class

Italy and the Bourgeoisie: The Re-Thinking of a Class

Synopsis

Italian bourgeoisie appears to have lived through a period of intense rethinking of its own role in society. This collection of essays examines what has been, and will remain, essentially Italian in the development of the Italian bourgeoisie from 1870 onward. The starting point of the liberal-bourgeois cycles full emergence and making in the peninsula is traditionally marked by the accomplishment of the Italian national unification, an event that took place in the heart of the nineteenth century. Starting with the role of the individual facing major changes and choices in post-Unification Italy each essay analyzes a particular aspect of bourgeoisie to be intended as the ruling classwhile Italy undergoes rather drastic political, economic, and social transformations to arrive at the issues concerning contemporary Italian society and its heterodox social heritage, marked by historical events of great importance, particularly the two World Wars, the Fascist ventennio, the colonial enterprises of Mussolinis regime, the Jewish persecution, the aftermath of World War II, and domestic terrorism in the so-called lead years. The role of Italian bourgeoisie as an indicator, inspiration, and conscience in current pop and high culture, what this means to today's intellectuals, while also tracing the origins of this Italian identity in the past century is at the core of these essays.

Excerpt

After the considerable effort of making italy into a unified country and of granting Italy a unified culture, Italian society has experienced an identity crisis throughout the twentieth century. Coming into the twenty-first, notions related to the socalled Old Europe, the intellectual impact of the European Union, the struggle between partisans and repubblichini, only recently acknowledged as the “Italian civil war” (1943–45), progressive Catholicism, terrorism, postfeminism, post-Communism, and again, sociopolitical intolerance and historiographic revisionism, are some of the challenges that will make this new century distinct from the last. the Italian bourgeoisie, whose impact has been traditionally so crucial to cultural phenomena, appears to be living through a period of intense rethinking of its own role in society.

In fact, in Italy there exists a plurality of ways of belonging to the bourgeoisie that needs understanding. Could we define it as a multibourgeoisie, could we think of it as a deeply fragmented entity whose application of terms and expressions such as class, religion (or agnosticism), ideology, and commitment to public good are scrutinized periodically and, in some cases, made responsible by other social classes, the northern proletariat, or terrorist groups, as the Red Brigades, of the moral decline of the country? But, one should advance the question, which bourgeoisie is the focus of discussion here, the affluent and industrious northwestern one, the seemingly apathetic Roman one, or the fatalistic Sicilian that our novelists so well have impressed in our memories, and many readers have learned to stereotype in the disengaged fiction by Andrea Camilleri? the rather liquid nature of the Italian bourgeoisie prompts discussions on its own . . .

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