The North–South divide is the source of serious tensions in contemporary Italy, dramatized by the anti-Southern rhetoric of the Northern League. It has become a commonplace to say that Italians lack a well-defined sense of national identity. But is it true? One should not put too much faith in opinion polls, but it is still significant that the cross-national polls conducted by Eurobarometer show that the Italians express fewer doubts about their national identity than Germans, where almost twenty years after reunification the “wall in the mind” between Ossis and Wessis has not been demolished. Fascism, for all its commitment to creating a “community of believers” united by faith in a political religion with its own martyrs, rituals, sacred festivals and even its own calendar, ultimately marked the bankruptcy of the conscious attempts at building national identity by indoctrination and state action. However, the mass media and consumer culture, for all their faults, have brought Italians closer together, diffusing similar models and styles of life. For the first time, Italian became a genuinely common language during the 1960s, thanks to television, although dialects remained the first language of the majority of Italians for considerably longer. One could talk of a “cellular” form of national identity, based on the reproduction and diffusion of similar patterns, in which certain features of the past that were originally local (like cuisine) have been “nationalized”. If pride in Italian political achievements has been almost non-existent, the same could not be said about Italian pride in the manufacture of cars, marketing clothes, design and, of course, football. But one senses that these achievements rest on much more fragile foundations now than in the past. Strong symbols of identification such as the piazza may be losing their efficacy, and Italian culture (film is a good example) has lost the vivacity and relevance that it had in the first thirty years of the Republic.
Postato da: IM