© 2006

Debating Divorce in Italy

Marriage and the Making of Modern Italians, 1860–1974

  • Authors

Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Mark Seymour
    Pages 1-9
  3. Mark Seymour
    Pages 11-34
  4. Mark Seymour
    Pages 35-58
  5. Mark Seymour
    Pages 59-83
  6. Mark Seymour
    Pages 85-112
  7. Mark Seymour
    Pages 213-222
  8. Mark Seymour
    Pages 223-229
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 231-290

About this book


The popular referendum of 1974 which affirmed Italy's recently-won divorce law is widely regarded as a turning point in modern Italian history, but the long story behind that struggle has remained largely unfamiliar. Using the debates over divorce as a lens, this book is a study of the quest to modernize Italy, Italians, and Italian marriage.


fascism history law marriage reform

About the authors

MARK SEYMOUR was born in London and moved to Sydney as a teenager. His education continued in the USA and Italy. He teaches Italian and European history at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Bibliographic information


The nine dense chapters of this book offer not only a rich reconstruction of the more than a century long and tormented history of the debate over divorce in Italy; they are a precious contribution to overall Italian political history and in particular the history of the state-church relationship in that country. - The American Historical Review "...A precious contribution to overall Italian political history and in particular of the state-church relationship in that country." - The American Historical Review "Mark Seymour's study of the divorce debates in modern Italy is a significant contribution not only to the history of Italy but also to the history of the politics of family and marriage in Europe. For scholars of Italy, Seymour's work shows how an issue like divorce, long considered unimportant as a social, economic, or political force in the making of modern Italy, illustrates the continuities between liberal Italy, fascism, and the republic and offers a more nuanced picture of the way in which political power was understood and wielded." - Linda Reeder, Journal of Modern History "Clearly written, full footnoted, with a timely bibliography and coise index, the volume is an important addition to modern Italian political and social history... Recommended." - CHOICE