Popular Opinion in Fascist Italy: Why Fascism Failed

Hardcover | September 24, 2012

byPaul Corner

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The question of how ordinary people related to totalitarian regimes is still far from being answered. The tension between repression and consensus makes analysis difficult; where one ends and the other begins is never easy to determine. In the case of fascist Italy, recent scholarship hastended to tilt the balance in favour of popular consensus for the regime, identifying in the novel ideological and cultural aspects of Mussolini's rule a 'political religion' which bound the population to the fascist leader.Popular Opinion in Fascist Italy presents a different picture. While not underestimating the force of ideological factors, Paul Corner argues that 'real existing Fascism', as lived by a large part of the population, was in fact an increasingly negative experience and reflected few of those colourfuland attractive features of fascist propaganda which have induced more favourable interpretations of the regime. Distinguishing clearly between the fascist project and its realisation, Corner examines the ways in which the fascist party asserted itself at the local level in the widely-differing areasof Italy, at its corruption and malfunctioning, and at the mounting wave of popular resentment against it during the course of the 1930s - resentment and hostility which, in effect, signalled the failure of the project. Popular Opinion in Fascist Italy, based largely on unpublished archival material, concludes by suggesting that the abuse of power by fascists mirrors much wider problems in Italy related to the relationship between the public and the private and to the modes of utilisation of power, both in the pastand in the present.

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The question of how ordinary people related to totalitarian regimes is still far from being answered. The tension between repression and consensus makes analysis difficult; where one ends and the other begins is never easy to determine. In the case of fascist Italy, recent scholarship hastended to tilt the balance in favour of popular ...

Educated at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, Paul Corner has taught in Borneo, England, and Italy. He was research fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford, then Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of Italian Society at the University of Reading, and - since 1987 - has been Professor of European History at the Universi...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:September 24, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198730691

ISBN - 13:9780198730699

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: The Project, the Party, and the Fascist State1. Postwar Palingenesis: forming the fascist project2. The Rise of Provincial Fascism. Periphery and centre in the years before 19253. Stabilisation in the Provinces: the party adapts4. Party and State5. Provincial Battles: problems in the party6. The Provincial Party: activity and reputationPart II: The Party and the People in the 1930s7. Growing Disjunctions: PNF rule and popular reaction8. Perceptions of the Party9. Discontent and Disaffection in the 'totalitarian phase' of Fascism10. The Flight from the Enchanter11. The Failure of the PartySelect bibliographyIndex of names

Editorial Reviews

"Essential reading for every serious student of modern dictatorships... It goes to the very heart of how totalitarian dictatorships worked." --Robert O. Paxton, Columbia and author of The Anatomy of Fascism