“Organize and Defend Yourself”. The Invention of the Middle Class Before Fascism: Actors, Discourse and Institutions

Chapter
Part of the Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning book series (LARI, volume 17)

Abstract

There is broad consensus that Italian Fascism addressed the middle classes – through its rhetoric, privileged policies of social protection and trade union organization – with a view to consolidating a loyal area in society. On the contrary, what is less widely known is that appearance of the middle classes dates back to the period between the end of the nineteenth century and the Great war. To shed light on this “invention”, the chapter carries out a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the emergence of a discourse on the middle classes prior to the First World War. It then outlines the biography of Italy’s most intense propagandist for the middle classes, Vincenzo Magaldi, and describes the International Institute for the Study of the Middle Classes in which he operated. The next section focuses on the Commission for post-war problems established in 1918 that was the first to incorporate the middle classes into a proposal for “global” reform of social legislation. Finally, the article discusses the mobilization of the middle classes at the dawn of the Fascist era.

Keywords

Middle class Fascism Propaganda Social reformers Constructivism 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecole FrançaiseRomeItaly

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