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Social Identities and Political Cultures in Italy
Catholic, Communist, and 'Leghist' Communities between Civicness and Localism
Anna Cento Bull
288 pages, 20 tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-944-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2001)
"This work is an interesting and intelligent contribution to the extensive literature ... [to be recommended] as an accessible and thoughtful supplement for analyses of large-scale voter surveys." · Italian Politics & Society
"This is an important study ... The results are analysed with great competence, skill and masterly awareness of competing arguments ... The study will be required reading for all researchers working in the social, economic, and political fields connected with Italy." · Gino Bedani
Since the demise of the First Republic, Italy's social and political developments have appeared both intriguing and contradictory to the outside world, resulting in controversial interpretations of the current changes. Based on a study of two northern areas characterized until recently by a proletarian/communist subculture and an interclassist/Catholic one, this book offers important perspectives as a result of new research. Political change has often been spectacular. However, the author argues, it has been accompanied by a high degree of continuity in the sphere of kinship and social networks, thus remaining embedded in unchanging social structures. She arrived at her findings by going beyond traditional methods of analyzing political change and addressing the more fundamental question of the underlying behavior and attitudes in family and social relations, moral and religious beliefs and values, and forms of political socialization and identity. By examining the concepts such as "social capital" and "civicness," recently popularized and applied to Italy by Robert Putnam, and the role of subculture, she comes to the conclusion that Italian "civicness" is inextricably bound up with cultural and political localism and that the linear development from collective, socially-embedded political behaviour towards pluralism and individuals, as envisaged by many political commentators, does not hold in the light of thorough research; the relationship between pluralistic and collectivist behaviour is much more complex than has been generally believed so far.
Anna Cento Bull is Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Bath.
Subject: Cultural Studies (General)SociologyPolitical and Economic Anthropology
Area: Southern Europe
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