"Italiani Brava Gente" ("Italians good people"): reflections on myths, nationhood and entertainment in contemporary Italian public culture
Paolo S. H. Favero
(University of Antwerp)
Paper short abstract:
The paper addresses questons of myth, historical memory, nationhood and imagination in contemporary Italian public culture by referring back to one of Italian funding folk myth, i.e. the one of "Italians good people".
Paper long abstract:
In the past 15 years Italy has 'discovered' itself to be a country of immigration. Parallel to this it has also become an allied in the America-led "war against terror". I suggest that it is in the conjunction of these two major phenomena that Italy has, in the recent few years, sought a way to (re)formulate, and put forth with strenght, a sense of nationhood, one that has historically never fully been accomplished, but that is now widely supported by the 'mundane' field of popular culture (i.e. in popular televisions shows, football events, etc.). Based on fieldwork among (mostly South Asian) migrant artists in Rome and taking off from the analysis of one of the most prototypical Italian national myth, i.e. the one of "Italians good people" (i.e. the historically resilient myth of Italians as a good charitable people) this paper aims at critically addressing the way in which a new sense of nationhood is being produced in contemporary Italian public culture in an interplay of memory, imagination, history and entertainment.
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination