The Victim Paradigm of the Republic: History, Memory and Media, by Marcello Ravveduto
The victim is the hero of our time, the protagonist of a presentist, narcissistic and nostalgic ‘mythology’. A ‘pathology of remembrance’ that has given voice to witnesses in search of civil recognition as an identity landing place. The trauma generated by crises of legitimation of the nation is at the heart of victimisation. This is the path taken by the revisionisms of the ‘lost causes’ that return to the scene, fuelling the obsession with the enemy. In the history of the Republic, the paradigm, grafted onto the victimised imaginary of nation building, is activated by the violence of the 1970s and triggered by the crisis induced by Aldo Moro’s murder, coinciding with the transformation of the media system: neo-television mediatises the trauma fuelled by the wake of mourning (the Bologna massacre, the Irpina earthquake, the case of Alfredo Rampi). In this scenario, President Pertini assumes the role of a priest who welcomes mourning and puts it in tune with the ‘Republic of Grief’.
Keywords: Victims, Memory, Nostalgia, Trauma, Republic.
The Italian Way to Martyrdom. Public use of the “victims of the Nations” during the Risorgimento, by Giacomo Girardi
Using a prevalently historiographical approach, this essay aims to reconstruct the representation and uses of patriotic martyrdom during the long Nineteenth century in Italy. Crossing different disciplinary fields – political history, literature, iconography – and basing itself on various types of sources, it reconstructs the passage from the figure of the martyr to that of the victim, from the religious sphere to the political one: at the centre is in fact the intervention of a State that aspires to take possession of a fragmented theme to construct a cohesion around a precise idea of homeland and nation. The exceptionality of the Italian case, destined to change radically during the First World War, is delineated through a valorisation of the sacrifice of the “civilian” patriot over that of the soldier. A vivid picture emerges, breaking out of often rigid disciplinary fences, framing itself within a fully modern ideological and anthropological context, which achieve its completion in the circular scheme typical of the victim paradigm.
Keywords: Risorgimento; Martyrdom; National Identity; Victims.
A Shattered Mosaic: the Victim Paradigm in Contemporary Italy, by Guido Panvini
The article aims to analyze the construction of the Victim Paradigm in Republican Italy, with particular attention to the overlap between collective memory, sociocultural identities and public policies. The hypothesis is that the Victim Paradigm is the combination of grassroots initiatives taken by multiple political and social actors and the top-down impulse from several institutions. The historiographic methodology adopted offers a different perspective aimed at questioning some prevailing interpretations within philosophical and political sciences that support the homogeneity and verticality of the victim’s paradigm process building. On the contrary, it was a disrupted and discontinuous process over time. The victim status appears in fact as a shattered mosaic, a mirror of the multiple identities and difficulties encountered by Italians in recognizing themselves in a sense of shared citizenship.
Keywords: Republican Citizenship, Victim Paradigm, Identities, Memory.
Centralization Policies and Peripheral Powers in Fascist Italy: the Case of Basilicata, by Elena Vigilante
This research identifies with studies focusing on the relationship between the centre and the periphery during the fascist dictatorship. The contribution examines the case study of the Basilicata region, a marginal territory characterized by weak economic elites. Its main focus is the relationship between national and peripheral decisionmaking centres, explicitly focusing on local elites. Historiography has shown how the centralizing policies of the regime, significantly after 1926, limited the sphere of action of local elites. The case of Basilicata, however, shows how the local authorities resisted, becoming essential actors in the administration of the territories. They carried out a flexible approach, contextualized to the different areas in which they operated, affecting the legislation related to the territory and the choice of presidi, rettori, podestà, and members of Consiglio dell’economia.
Keywords: Fascism, Centre-Periphery, Local Elites, Southern Italy.
Media, culture, and politics in post-war Southern Italian periphery: the short-lived daily newspaper «L’Azione», by Mario De Prospo
After the end of the second world war, the “Partito d’Azione” represented a characteristic story of the role of intellectuals in the Italian political sphere. This essay examines the vicissitudes of the daily newspaper of this party published in Southern Italy. The paper’s focus is the relational network linked to this newspaper under the editorship of the respected “meridionalista” Guido Dorso. The aim is to analyse the agency of this group of intellectuals associated with the newspaper and the political party based in Naples in the first complicated post-war months, providing an overall interpretation of the short life of this publication. The essay identifies the circumstances with which an entity of the Italian periphery, part of a specific political and cultural milieu, tried to mobilize its resources and, at the same time, employed, when available, resources from the centre and reference models from other countries.
Keywords: Intellectuals, Partito d’Azione, History of journalism, Southern Italy, Naples.
Banking Technocracy, Industrial Interests and Political Control of Special Credit. The Isveimer Case (1957-1965), by Antonio Bonatesta
This paper reconstructs the Isveimer activity, responsible for medium-term industrial credit in the continental regions of Southern Italy, taking into consideration the period 1957-65, during which national authorities pursued the industrialization plan with the utmost effort. The availability of new archival sources at the Giulio Pastore Foundation has allowed a more articulated interpretation of the Isveimer’s position in the face of the expansion of state capitalism and the conditionalities posed by international financial institutions such as the EIB and the World Bank. The phenomena of patronage and political colonization of industrial credit, already described by historiography, are here placed in the context of conflicts for the control of development policies occurred at different scales of political and economic-financial power, in which the determining element is given by the contrast between the corporate systems built by local ruling classes and the rationalizing forces of national and international development policies.
Keywords: Isveimer, Special Credit, Cassa per il Mezzogiorno, Technocracy, Industrialization.
Between “centre” and “periphery”. Rise, Protagonism and Decline of the Campania Political Élite in the Years of the Republic, by Andrea Marino
The paper analyses the rise and subsequent decline of the Campanian political élite in the Republican era. This “parabola” will be investigated, focusing on the relationship between «centro» (the centre) and «periferia» (the margins of political power), aiming to understand in which extent Campania’s ruling classes participated and conditioned certain political processes or specific reforms, succeeding in expanding, amending, or burdening the costs of crucial institutional and legislative projects. This elite was integrated into the «centre». However, at the same time, this elite of the «periphery» turned its gaze toward the centre and tried to influence it, and, for a brief phase, it was able to hegemonize it. Thus, the perspective of looking from the periphery aims to investigate how localist thrusts and the interdependence of «centro»/«periferia» have affected political evolution locally and nationally. This specific case study offers an engaging, unpublished interpretation of some of the elements of degeneration of the «Repubblica dei partiti» up to the institutional collapse of 1992-94 and the reasons for the recent deepening of the North-South divide.
Keywords: Centre, Periphery, Campania, Political Power.
Economic History of Late Medieval Italy and Business History: a finished combination?, by Sergio Tognetti
The economic history of late-medieval Italy, both of the regions gravitating around the great mercantile cities of the centre-north of the Peninsula (Venice, Florence, Genoa, Milan) and of the urban realities and countryside of the Mezzogiorno (not to mention the Rome of the popes), has attracted the attention of Italian and foreign historians since the late 19th century. For a long time, Italy and its extraordinary archives were an indispensable touchstone for anyone studying agriculture, manufacturing, trade and banking. Some of the decisive reasons for this interest can be traced back to aspects of historical research revolving around the concept of the cradle of capitalism and Renaissance civilization: hence the strong prominence of Italian businessmen, and their companies, in the historiography of the last century. In recent decades, and particularly in the last few years, these interests have rapidly petered out and the economic history of Italy between the age of Dante and that of Machiavelli has become almost a Cinderella story. This contribution seeks to explain the rise and decline of a historiography that, consciously or unconsciously, has suffered more than others from the backlash of the contemporary world.
Keywords: Economic History of Late-Medieval age, Cradle of Capitalism and Renaissance, Economic historiography of XXth century and today.