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 | July 10, 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.

Mabel Berezin teaches Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Title:Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar ItalyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.66 inPublished:July 10, 1997Publisher:Cornell University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801484200

ISBN - 13:9780801484209

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Editorial Reviews

"This is a deeply researched, elegantly argued book that makes an important contribution both to the study of fascism and to theories of political mobilization more generally.... It is the best study we have for making sense of how fascism worked as politics and as cultural politics in inter-war Italy."

- Lynn Hunt, University of Pennsylvania