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date: 15 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The term Risorgimento covered three projects: national unification, social and economic modernization, and the construction of national identity. In the aftermath of unification, the Risorgimento became a contentious element in political discourse: opponents from Catholics to Marxists attacked it as a deeply misguided endeavor. Fascism and other right-wing forces employed Risorgimento discourse to articulate their own projects, while liberals saw Fascism itself as the betrayal of Risorgimento ideals. After World War II, the Risorgimento’s prominence diminished: both Communists and Christian Democrats looked to universal values and institutions independent of national identity. However, since 1990 the Risorgimento has reappeared in public discourse, as the Northern League denounced unification while the center-right appealed to patriotism. As shown by the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Unification in 2011, the Risorgimento’s role in shaping national identity remains deeply contested.

Keywords: Risorgimento, national identity, Northern League, Fascism, Marxists, Catholics, Christian Democrats, Unification

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