Sacred Modernities: Rethinking Modernity in a Post-Secular Age
18 September 2009
Lorenzo Santoro (University of Warwick)
The Sacralization of Time in Italian Fascism
This talk aims to provide methodological insight into the analysis of the time dimensions of modernity. Taking into account the relevance of this approach in the Annales School (Braudel, Vovelle) and in social research (Elias, Gurvitch, Luhmann), the paper will analyze the link between temporal dynamics, social fragmentation and the contingencies of modernity. The break of Western tradition signaled by many scholars in the 30s was also claimed by fascist political religion as the starting point for its totalitarian claims towards a unified national culture. The analysis will take advantage of Emilio Gentile’s proposal regarding the sacralization of politics, as well as Roger Griffin’s recent investigation into the modern nature of fascist phenomena. Moreover, the talk will insist on the different temporalities and temporal reference points (First World War, Fiume collective experience, squadrism, Matteotti crisis) that were appointed as pivotal by different actors during the fascist seizure of power in Italy. At the end of 1925 Mussolini did impose a structured temporal agenda on fascist political religion. The imposition of the Roma myth and imperialism, alongside the duce myth, signaled a huge shift in fascist propaganda. It will be argued that this can be understood in relation to the young fascists’ new role in the regime and the new futuristic models of temporality that this role involved.
Dr Lorenzo Santoro, currently working at the University of Warwick, obtained his doctorate in modern history at Roma Tre University in 2004 with a dissertation entitled “Roberto Farinacci and the Italian Fascist Party 1923-1926”. The dissertation will be published shortly in Italian by Rubbettino. He has given fifteen talks to international conferences about fascism, political theory, music and identity, and is currently editing a book for Edwin Mellon Press about Political Religions.