Genius Loci

The geography of Italian politics

Authored by: John Agnew

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Italy

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415604178
eBook ISBN: 9781315709970
Adobe ISBN: 9781317487555

10.4324/9781315709970.ch13

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Abstract

Thinking about Italian politics in terms of “place” is to emphasize how the geographies of everyday life figure in how political movements arise in some places but not others, parties put down roots better in some places than elsewhere, and local attachments arise that animate political behavior to the extent that liberating those places from the rest of the country becomes the object of political action. The two dominant genres of writing about Italian politics are those that focus on the “making” of Italy as a nation and those that see it as divided/united essentially by national social classes and a powerful left/right political division that pervades the country whatever the current political regime or system of parties happens to be. Most commentators also acknowledge that the country has had longstanding geographical differences economically, socially, and politically. But both dominant genres implicitly view these as residual: destined to fade in significance as national unity overcomes regional and local identities or as nationwide class divisions trump local and regional affiliations and interests.

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