Middle classes in contemporary Europe. Some introductory reflections, by Heinz-Gerhard Haupt
From the 19th century until today much of the analysis of middle classes use the categories of decline or success when they describe the situation of small shopkeepers, artisans or even white-collar workers. In doing this, they integrate their study in broader social theories and diagnosis of Marxist or liberal origin. But they do not succeed to take into account the social diversity of the middle classes. This particularity can be found in studying social careers for instance.
Keywords: Middle Class; Decline; Promotion; Ideologies and social praxis.
Socialist and bourgeois cooperation in Luigi Einaudi and Maffeo Pantaleoni, by Luca Tedesco
The essay intends to examine the convergence of the interpretation of Luigi Einaudi and Maffeo Pantaleoni about the theoretical nature of the cooperative phenomenon as well as its historical evolution. Excluding the existence of specific purposes that would distinguish the cooperative from other enterprises, the two economists recognized the merit of co-operation for having conveyed the values of the middle classes and the autonomous and independent bourgeoisie also in the working class, before the definitive socialist and parasitic degeneration of that experience that took place after the end of the First World War.
Keywords: Co-operation; Socialism; Middle Class; Luigi Einaudi; Maffeo Pantaleoni.
Catholics, middle classes and the project of the International Institute for the middle classes, by Elisabetta Caroppo
The paper focuses on the attention that from the first years of the twentieth century some circles of the Catholic movement demonstrated towards the defence of the middle classes in Europe on the wave of influence of the International Institute of the Middle Classes. The Institute was created in Stuttgart (with Brussels as operating headquarter) in 1903, and its main aims were to define middle classes and protect them from the development of monopoly capitalism and from the great industrial concentration, through the scientific study and a series of useful strategies to face their difficulties. Inspired by Toniolo’s thought and social Catholicism, the Catholic movement found a solid point of reference in the project of the Institute, also in consideration of the socio-political reading of these classes as factors of moralization and social stability. From this point of view, the problem of property acquired great centrality, especially among a series of experts – Angelo Mauri above all – who gathered around the Unione cattolica per gli studi sociali (of which Toniolo himself had been president) and its journal Rivista internazionale di scienze sociali e discipline ausiliarie.
Keywords: Middle Class; Catholic movement; Ideologies; Internationalism; Social history.
Between corporatism and social security: the debate of Milanese Catholicism from Fascism to the Republic, by Edoardo Bressan
This article examines how the Italian Catholic world addressed the problem of the welfare system and the social protection for middle classes. Milanese Catholicism and the Catholic University play an important role, in particular through the work of Fanfani and of the rector Father Gemelli. Both economic reflection and historical analysis highlighted the issue of policies of poor relief, in relation both to fascist corporatism and the encyclical of Pius XI, Milanese Pope, Quadragesimo anno, issued in 1931. After the Second World War, the focus shifted to social security as the final goal of the public assistance, especially during the Social Week of Bologna in 1949, once again with the contribution of the Catholic University. However, in this debate and in following stances of Catholics regarding the welfare model the universalist perspective was linked to a persistent idea of collaboration between social classes.
Keywords: Italian welfare system; Social protection; Middle Class, Milanese Catholicism.
Artisans in Italy between representation and politics. The case of Confartigianato from the post-war II period to the end of the 1950s, by Anna Pina Paladini
The essay tackles the subject of the origin of Italian artisan associations in the post war II period by connecting the associative and political choices with the debate and the different conceptions of the parties on the role of the middle classes for the new democratic era. In particular, it analyses the birth of one of the oldest artisan associations, currently known as Confartigianato, tracing the activities between 1946, the year of its foundation, and the end of the 1950s, when the process of its consolidation in the new democratic order can be considered complete. The objective is twofold: on the one hand, to investigate the ways of its relationship with the republican parties and the contribution to lead the “artisan question” to the attention of the institutions, favoring the launch of a sector policy; on the other hand, to bring out the plurality of projects and perspectives on the role of artisans as a component of the productive middle classes for the construction of the new economic and political course of the country.
Keywords: Middle Class; Artisans; Confartigianato (artisan representative association); the 1950s; Government parties.
The value of interests. The Italian Communist Party’s representation of middle class in the 1970s, by Francesco Bartolini
This article examines how the “middle class question” changed in the Italian Communist Party’s discourse during the 1970s. Under the leadership of Enrico Berlinguer, the party started a new reflection on the nature of the middle class, reducing the specificity of its economic interests and supporting its identification with a mass of citizen-producers, who would be educated in new values towards a “civic development”. It was an important shift in the elaboration of the communist strategy, which was conditioned by examining the “profound differences” between the class conflict in the city and that in the factory. Furthermore, this new discourse about the middle class was a significant example of the complex interweaving between the representations of “intermediate” social groups and the formation of new cultural values, which began to transform the image of the Italian nation during the 1970s.
Keywords: Middle Class; Italian Comunist Party; hHistory of Italian politics 19601980.
Holidays and tourism of the middle classes in the Trente glorieuses of mass consumption, by Elisa Tizzon
The article deals with the middle-class tourism during the Trente glorieuses of mass consumption (1945-1975), by reference to different historiographical interpretations on the role played by this social group in the creation of a Euro-Atlantic consumer community and the contradictions affecting this process. In the first part, a brief overview on the historical research on the middle-class tourism after World War II is provided, by focusing on its political and social meanings in the European countries. Then, the article focuses on the outcomes of the growing presence of vacationers from European middle-classes in Italy during the so-called “economic miracle”; in the conclusion, the essay assesses the applicability of the middle-class category to the Italian tourist and the transformations of this concept in the following decades and suggests future research avenues in the field of social and political history.
Keywords: Tourism; Middle Class; Consumption.
«The disastrous effects» of Primary education. Teaching and circulation of ideas in the Papal State (1846-1851), by Francesca Rosati
In the years 1846 and 1851, a canon of the diocese of Anagni issued a complaint to the Congregazione degli studi, lamenting the conditions of Latin and grammar schools of the provinces. The author deplored both teaching methods and the scarce control over these institutes, which ultimately accounted for serious consequences amongst pupils such as lack of enthusiasm, spread of idleness, ignorance and dangerous ideas. However, throughout six years, the reasons behind grievance had changed profoundly. The agenda for the upbringing of young generations, in fact, became increasingly linked to issues of social, civil and moral nature, and strongly influenced by political events occurred in the Papal States, from the election of Pius IX to the restoration after the stint of the Roman Republic. The essay, underpinned by a collection of data identifying the schools of the Papal State (started in 1850), and by an examination of the debates published in the contemporary press, identifies and analyses the problems, as well as the persistence and discontinuity in the pontifical and republican school policies.
Keywords: Repubblica Romana (1849); Papal States; Teaching of Latin; Revolutionary ideas; School policy.
Consumption and political cultures on the threshold of the “Miracolo”. Women and the family in the Italy of the economic boom, by Elisabetta Girotto
Compared to the emergence of an Italian society that records a change in customs and the beginning of a well-being legitimized by the level of consumption, the study questions the times and spaces of the “daily life” in the lives of women and families. To the investigation of factors external to the family, the more readily internal one is added, aimed at deciphering the languages of the private family in relation to a changing society. The comparison of a wide range of sources – such as weeklies and magazines of Catholic and communist origin, but also cinema – has allowed us to reflect on the symbolic clash between modernity and traditions that characterized Italy during the economic boom. Particular attention has been paid to the system of connections of family and women with political institutions: the universe of the two big parties (DC and PCI), of society and mass culture, in a reality like the Italian one in which the private and domestic space represents not only the fulcrum of the elaboration of political and religious thought, but also an essential factor for the construction of social, gender and generational identities.
Keywords: Consumption studies; Cinema studies; Gender studies; Culture studies; Family studies.