Sunday, March 25, 2007

Negotiating Italian Identities

Negotiating Italian Identities

Annali d'italianistica, Vol. 24, 2006

Norma Bouchard

Common part in the critical theories with regard to identity is their "understanding of identity as a relational process created in a dynamic exchange within the world and the collectivity within it, and carried by and through symbolic activities." (11)

Roberto M. Dainotto

The European-ness of Italy: Categories and Norms

"In fact, there is one dominant category of Italian culture, it is the oposition of Italian and European. Italians want to be Europeans in the exact measure in which they do not feel they are European enough." (19)

"... the rise of a new racism in Italy is intimately tied with Italy's tormented history of European integration. Immigration, in other words, threatens not only a sense of national identity, but a sense of Italy's belonging to Europe." (22)

"The fear of not being European enough, in other words, became "The Southern Question." (25)

"Before unification, literary historian Cesare Balbo, in Delle speranze d'Italia (1855), had mentioned fundamental differences setting apart Southern from Northern identity, and Costantino Nigra, in Storia letteraria d'Italia (1861), had been perhaps the first to codify such differences in terms of racial identities: Northern Italy belonged to the Celtic and European race, Southern Italy to an Italic one." (26)

"In short, Italy was split in two races: while a perfectly sociable homo europaeus inhabited a happy North, the homo meridionalis, under the yoke of climate and natural factors, threatened to de-Europeanize the country (Teti 154)." (27)

"Being Italian, having that identity, meant therefore to be marked as a patholigy of history, a defect of modernity, a failure of progress, a Giovannino-come-lately in the spectacle of cinsumer society. On the other hand, escaping to Europe meant nothing less than entering history, progress, and modernity. But to do that, Italy had to lose its Southern identity, and become Norther, that is, European." (32)

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