Mass Culture and Italian Society from Fascism to the Cold War

Mass Culture and Italian Society from Fascism to the Cold War

David A. Forgacs and Stephen Gundle
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/11/2008
Format: Paperback 16 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-21948-0
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The 1930s to the 1950s in Italy witnessed large increases in film-going, radio-listening, and the sale of music and weekly magazines. The industries that made and sold commercial, cultural products were transformed by the new technologies of reproduction and new approaches to marketing and distribution.

Yet historians tend to place the "real" genesis of mass culture in the 1960s, or to generalize about the harnessing of mass culture to the Fascist political project, without considering what kind of mass culture existed at the time and whether this harnessing was successful. This book draws on extensive new evidence, including oral histories and archival material, to explore possible continuities between the uses of mass culture before and after World War II.

Author Bio

David Forgacs is Professor of Italian at University of London. His research interests are in the cultural history of modern Italy and history of the media. He is author of Rome Open City and L'industrializzazione della cultura italiana (1800-2000) and editor with Robert Lumley of Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction and with Sarah Lutton and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith of Roberto Ruossellini: Magician of the Real. He is currently Research Professor at the British School at Rome working on a three-year project (2006-2009) on language, space, and power in Italy since Unification.

Stephen Gundle is Professor of Film and Television Studies at Warwick University. His research interests are in modern Italian cultural and poltiical history. He is author of Between Hollywood and Moscow: The Italian Communists and the Challenge of Mass Culture, 1943-1991 and Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy, and editor with Simon Parker of The New Italian Republic and, with Lucia Rinaldi, of Assassinations and Murder in Modern Italy. He is currently directing a large-scale collaborative project on "The Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italianns, 1918-2005."


“"Mass Culture and Italian Society is a well-researched and well-written co-authored book which will be of maximum interest to scholars of Italian history, society, and culture alike." —Jacqueline Reich, Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, SUNY Stony Brook”

“A well-researched and well-written co-authored book which will be of maximum interest to scholars of Italian history, society, and culture alike.”
 — Jacqueline Reich, SUNY Stony Brook

“[T]his volume on Italian mass culture, based on a vast oral history project comprising almost 120 oral testimonies, is an extremely precious contribution to the subject, one which future research will not be able to ignore.”
 — European History Quarterly

“Mass Culture and Italian Society is a very well-researched work ... It provides a masterly presentation and discussion ... which will be of great interest to scholars and postgraduate students of Italian cultural and social studies, and to those working on Italian history and politics of the twentieth century.Volume 14 Issue 7 2009”
 — European Legacy

“Mass Culture and Italian Society from Fascism to the Cold War examines what its authors describe as ‘a relatively early’ but nonetheless ‘decisive’ phase in the evolution of modern mass culture and cultural consumption in Italy. . . Of course, consumer culture eventually ploughed its way past Christian Democracy – and Communism – as it had Fascism. As Forgacs and Gundle's worthy and provocative work attests, the ultimate winners in this battle were the philistines. 17.3 2012”
 — Modern Italy

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Culture, Place, and Nation

Part 1. Cultural Consumption and Everyday Life
1. Patterns of Consumption
2. Practices of the Self: Intimacy, Sexuality, Sport, Fashion

Part 2. Cultural Industries and Markets
3. Publishing: Books, Magazines, and Comics
4. Film Production
5. The Film Market: Distribution, Exhibition, and Stars
6. Radio and Recorded Music

Part 3. The Politics of Mass Culture
7. State Intervention in Cultural Activity
8. Civil Society and Organized Leisure


Appendix 1. The Oral History Project, by Marcella Filippa
Appendix 2. Table of Interviewees
Appendix 3. Questionnaire

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