Everyday life in Fascist Italy

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Benito Mussolini’s pronouncement in October 1925, willing “everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”, three years after the March on Rome had brought his Fascist Party (PNF) to power in Italy, set the stage for a dictatorship that intended to rule Italians ‘totally’. To deliver and maintain the Fascist revolution and its promised national regeneration, it would be necessary to permeate and fundamentally re-shape all aspects of Italian society and Italians’ daily lives. Mussolini’s formulation not only pointed to ‘ordinary’ Italians and their everyday worlds as key recipients of fascism’s ‘totalising’ project, but also tacitly recognised Italians as important potential constructors, and the everyday as key construction site, of the dictatorship.

To this end, this chapter explores the everyday, lived experiences of the fascist dictatorship in Italy between 1922 and 1940, from the March on Rome to Italy’s entry to the Second World War, focussing attention on a select range of venues, practices and interrelations that marked the everyday encounters between ‘ordinary’ Italians and the regime: the interplay of coercion and persuasion in the state’s engagement with Italians; leisure and recreational practices; food consumption; and the intimate and affective networks, interactions and spaces that connected family and friends. It asks: what was the scope of Fascism’s totalitarian project, and where were its limits?; how did violence, coercion and intimidation combine with enticement, propaganda and the eliciting of support or ‘consent’, in the regime’s attempts to shape Italians’ everyday lives?; and how did Italians themselves variously negotiate, resist, and exploit the dictates of Mussolini’s regime?; how and where, if any, did opportunities exist for Italians to act with agency in their everyday practices?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDictatorship and daily life in 20th-century Europe
EditorsLisa Pine
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781350209046, 9781350209107
ISBN (Print)9781350209015, 9781350208988
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


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