Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar Italy by Mabel BerezinMaking the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar Italy by Mabel Berezin

Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar Italy

byMabel Berezin

Paperback | June 27, 1997

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In her examination of the culture of Italian fascism, Mabel Berezin focuses on how Mussolini's regime consciously constructed a nonliberal public sphere to support its political aims. Fascism stresses form over content, she believes, and the regime tried to build its political support through the careful construction and manipulation of public spectacles or rituals such as parades, commemoration ceremonies, and holiday festivities.

The fascists believed they could rely on the motivating power of spectacle, and experiential symbols. In contrast with the liberal democratic notion of separable public and private selves, Italian fascism attempted to merge the public and private selves in political spectacles, creating communities of feeling in public piazzas. Such communities were only temporary, Berezin explains, and fascist identity was only formed to the extent that it could be articulated in a language of pre-existing cultural identities.

In the Italian case, those identities meant the popular culture of Roman Catholicism and the cult of motherhood. Berezin hypothesizes that at particular historical moments certain social groups which perceive the division of public and private self as untenable on cultural grounds will gain political ascendance. Her hypothesis opens a new perspective on how fascism works.

Title:Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar ItalyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.29 inPublished:June 27, 1997Publisher:Cornell University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801484200

ISBN - 13:9780801484209

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Editorial Reviews

"Mabel Berezin draws on extensive historical knowledge and familiarity with social theory to claim the critical importance of fascist ritual. Ritual in the broadest sense, she argues, was constructed to serve as the core of the fascist experience—displacing the church, claiming the town center, fusing the private self with the public cause. Berezin explains to what degree the fascist project worked, and why contemporary xenophobic movements can still draw upon its mystique."—Charles S. Maier, Harvard University