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date: 17 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Italian Communist Party (PCI) has been the subject of sustained scholarly attention. The narrative of its development over the postwar period and beyond the fall of Soviet Communism is well chronicled. The structure and evolution of support for the Communist Party has received less attention. This chapter draws upon a rich vein of sociological research to show how support for the PCI moved grew beyond the boundaries of its ideological core, and how it shrank back down to that solid central component. In part, this research shows the strength of popular allegiance to the organization structure of the party; in part it shows the resilience of Italian communist “sub-culture.” The co-option of opposition both outside and within the party was also important. The PCI effectively ceased to exist in 1991 and yet its legacy extends to today’s Democratic Party.

Keywords: Italian Communist Party (PCI), Italian Democratic Party, Soviet Communism

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