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Fascism as the Expression of a Spiritual Revolution in Italy

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Abstract

Emilio Gentile provides one of the most succinct contemporary ‘definitions’ of civil and political religion. Political religions, he stresses, ‘reflect the manner in which political activity is perceived, experienced and represented through beliefs, myths, rituals and symbols that refer to a sacralised secular entity inspiring faith, devotion and togetherness among believers.’1 If one accepts this conception of political religion in the twentieth century which, as Stanley Payne has argued, ‘aimed at buttressing social solidarity and morality’,2 then the most critical element of it is the notion of ‘sacredness’. It is the sacralised core of such political religious movements that provides them with their religious dimension. Therefore, case study analysis of specific regime models that are generally conceived of as working political religions — National Socialism in Germany, Stalinism in the Soviet Union, fascism in Italy to name but a few — must consider precisely what, if anything, gave this critical core element its ‘sacredness’.

Keywords

  • Coalition Government
  • Case Study Analysis
  • Italian People
  • Spiritual Renewal
  • Fascist Ideology

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Notes

  1. E. Gentile, Le religioni della politica, Bari: Laterza, 2001, p. 206.

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  2. R. Griffin, ‘Fascism’s Myth: The Nation’, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, pp. 43–44.

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  3. E. Gentile, Il culto del Littorio, Bari: Editori Laterza, 1998, p. 110.

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  4. B. Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism, Edizioni Larius, 1932, p. 2.

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  5. S. Falasca-Zamponi, Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Fascist Italy, Berkley: University of California Press, 1997.

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  6. A. Turati, ‘La rivoluzione in marcia’, Gerarchia, October 1927.

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  7. G. L. Mosse, ‘Fascist Aesthetics and Society’, in The Fascist Revolution, New York: Howard Fertig, 1999, p. 52.

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© 2008 Robert Mallett

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Mallett, R. (2008). Fascism as the Expression of a Spiritual Revolution in Italy. In: Griffin, R., Mallett, R., Tortorice, J. (eds) The Sacred in Twentieth-Century Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230241633_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230241633_5

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-35940-0

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