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Living on the Edge in Leonardo's FlorenceSelected Essays$
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Gene Brucker

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241343

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241343.001.0001

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From Campanilismo to Nationhood

From Campanilismo to Nationhood

Forging an Italian Identity

(p.42) Chapter Three From Campanilismo to Nationhood
Living on the Edge in Leonardo's Florence

Jeff Mielke

University of California Press

Nations are strange and capricious historical formations. Out of myriads of tribes and peoples, only a few survive into the modern world, with its urban culture, its mass education, and its diverse social structure. Most of the tribes and people fall victim to larger or more determined peoples, and see their languages wither, their customs reduced to museum exhibits, and their folklore cherished by antiquarians and ethnographers. This illustrates the problematic nature of the process of nationhood which involves as many failures as successes. Italy's route to nationhood was as tortured and as vicissitudinous as that of any European state. This chapter discusses the experiences of Italy in its route to nationhood and achievement of a national identity. It discusses the problems that plagued the establishment and sustenance of the Italian nation-state since its foundation. These dilemmas include those historical forces that continue to slow down the process of unification: campanilismo; class conflict, divisions between town and country; and tensions between secular and ecclesiastical structures.

Keywords:   nationhood, Italy, national identity, unification, campanilismo, class conflict

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