Most scholars would agree that the initial spark that ignited the demonstrations in Italy’s universities at the end of the 1960s came from longstanding ills within academia itself. Italy’s antiquated institutions of higher education reflected the nation’s historic problems of underdevelopment. Symptomatic of this inability of the universities to adapt to changing times was the student rebellion in Trento. The alpine university became one of the first centers of student revolt precisely because it was the only place one could study sociology in the entire country and thus concentrated a number of highly politicized and socially active students in a small, conservative town. As historian Gerd-Rainer Horn convincingly demonstrates, the Italian government’s initial hesitancy to confer a degree in the subject, led to the first occupation of the university in January 1966.1 This is but one example of the inadequacies of these archaic institutions that were revealed during the student movement’s initial demonstrations for educational reform in the mid-1960s. As we shall see, the student movement at first formed to address problems in the universities, but by the end of the decade they had left the campuses to extend their critique into all of society.
- Student Activist
- Italian Society
- Student Movement
- Student Leader
- Student Protest
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
V. Spini (1972) “The New Left in Italy,” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. VII, 52.
G. Mammarella (1964) Italy after Fascism: A Political History 1943–1963 (Montreal: Mario Casalini), pp. 344–52.
P. Ginsborg (2003) A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943–1988 (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan).
G. Galli quoted in F. P. Belloni (1971) “Dislocation in the Italian Political System: An Analysis of the 1968 Parliamentary Elections,” The Western Political Quarterly, vol. XXIV, 130.
For an explanation of the problems of the Italian left see A. De Grand (1989) The Italian Left in the Twentieth Century: A History ofthe Socialist and Communist Parties (Bloomington: Indiana University Press)
T. Perlini (1971) “Left-Wing Culture in Italy since the Last War,” (trans. G. Nowell-Smith), 20th Century Studies, V, 6–17.
R. Boston (1969) “The Italian Chaos,” New Society, vol. CCCXLVII, 788.
G. Martinotti (1969) “The Positive Marginality: Notes on Italian Students in Periods of Political Mobilization,” in S. M. Lipset and P. Altbach (eds) Students in Revolt (Boston: Houghton Mifflin), p. 186.
G. De Luna (1991) “Aspetti del Movimento del ’68 a Torino,” in A. Agosti, L. Passerini, and N. Tranfaglia (eds) La cultura e i luoghi del ’68 (Milan: Franco Angeli), pp.190–91.
See S. Hilwig (2001) “Are you calling me a fascist? A Contribution to the Oral History of the 1968 Italian Student Rebellion,” Journal ofContemporary History, vol. XXXVI, 581–97.
Catholic Church and W. J. Gibbons (1963) Pacem in Terris. Peace on Earth: Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope John XXIII (New York: Paulist Press).
Book sales statistic in R. Boston (1969) “The Italian Chaos,” 789. Herbert Marcuse (1964) One Dimensional Man (Boston: Beacon Press).
Leonard Weinberg (1995) The Transformation of Italian Communism (New Bunswick and London: Transaction Publishers), pp. 34–35.
S. Hellman, “The ‘New Left’ in Italy,” in M. Kolinsky and W. E. Paterson (eds) (1976) Social and Political Movements in Western Europe (London: Croom Helm), pp. 243–73.
For essays describing the conflict between the New and Old Left in Italy in the 1960s and afterward, see G. Paolini and W. Vitali (eds) (1977) PCI, Classe Operaia e Movimento Studentesco (Florence: Guaraldi Editore).
For a very thorough account of the student movements throughout Italy in the 1960s, see J. Kurz (2001) Die Universität auf der Piazza. Entstehung und Zerfall der Studentenbewegung in Italien 1996–1968 (Cologne: SH-Verlag).
S. M. Lipset (1969) “The Possible Effects of Student Activism on International Politics,” in S. M. Lipset and P. Altbach (eds) Students in Revolt (Boston: Houghton Mifflin), p. 512.
Psychoanalysts Morton Levitt and Ben Rubenstein have argued that the student leaders came from generally wealthy backgrounds with permissive parents and that once in college they reverted back to an Oedipal phase and their attacks on “corporate liberals, etc.” is merely an attack on their fathers. See M. Levitt and B. Rubenstein (1971) “The Student Revolt: Totem and Taboo Revisited,” Psychiatry, vol. XXXIV, 156–67.
N. Z. Davis (1975) “Women on Top,” in N. Z. Davis (ed.) Society and Culture in Early Modern France: Eight Essays (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
D. Godineau (1993) “Daughters of Liberty and Revolutionary Citizens,” in G. Duby and M. Perrot (eds) A History of Women, vol. 4, (trans. A. Goldhammer) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
© 2009 Stuart J. Hilwig
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Hilwig, S.J. (2009). The Italian Student Revolts, 1967–68. In: Italy and 1968. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230246928_2
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London
Print ISBN: 978-1-349-36576-0
Online ISBN: 978-0-230-24692-8