1 The Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University2 The Dynamics of Globalisation, Inequality and New Processes of International Interaction, Administration Department of Roskilde University, Roskilde University3 Globalization and Europeanization, Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University4 Princeton University
The aim of this paper is to understand both continuities and changes in the reference to the Risorgimento in 20th century political discourse. The narrative proceeds by analyzing historical “snapshots,” from the Liberal period to post-Cold War Italy, that allows us to spell out what has changed and what has remained constant in the memorization and actualization of the Risorgimento in the 20th century political discourse. We single out historical events, public rituals and public discourses unfolding in the context of symbolic years and anniversaries of the nation like 1911, 1932, and 1961 where the nexus between the Risorgimento past and the political present came to the fore with particular emphasis. In the contextual discussion of these memorization events, we discuss intellectual elaborations of Risorgimento memorization and indicate how such elaborations spread to wider layers of the populace. In the final section, we bring the analysis up to date by briefly discussing more current interpretations and evocations of the Risorgimento, with a focus on the highly symbolic Presidency of Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (1999-2006).