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Memories and Silences Haunted by Fascism

Italian Colonialism MCMXXX-MCMLX

Daniela Baratieri

Fascist and colonial legacies have been determinant in shaping how Italian colonialism has been narrated in Italy till the late 1960s. This book deals with the complex problem of public memory and discursive amnesia.
The detailed research that underpins this book makes it no longer possible to claim that after 1945 there was an absolute and traumatic silence concerning Italy’s colonial occupation of North and East Africa. However, the abiding public use of this history confirms the existence of an extremely selective and codified memory of that past.
The author shows that colonial discourse persisted in historiography, newspapers, newsreels and film. Popular culture appears intertwined with political and economic interests and the power inscribed in elite and scientific knowledge. While readdressing the often mistaken historical time line that ignores that actual Italian colonial ties did not end with the fall of Fascism, but in 1960 with Somalia becoming independent, this book suggests that a new post Fascist Italian identity was the crucial issue in reappraisals of a national colonial past.

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3. Audiences 63

Extract

Chapter 3 Audiences So far attention has been devoted to how these theatres of memories worked, but very little has been said about the actual distribution of their historical accounts and memories. It has been noted that the actors involved in their production are numerous and spread out across different professions and groups. They are, at one and at the same time, producers and receivers of those accounts. This part will not conclude, then, with an appraisal of reception in general, but will address without attempting to be exhaustive the distribution of these cultural products through time, providing an insight of their possible influence among the Italian people and of their power to assert certain stories. Cinema, radio and television: audience and interaction between media Considering that the period under scrutiny registered a consi- derable change in the field of media and communications, assessing the distribution of cinema, radio and television in Italy is a prerequisite to gain an understanding of the impact of their re- spective narratives. A very general observation, which will how- ever colour the emphasis and space dedicated to discrete elements, is that radio and various newspapers grew alongside cinema without hindering its evolution and expansion, whereas television slowly became antagonistic to it. In retrospect this may be even more relevant when examining audio-visual news-reports. ‘During the war, notwithstanding the dictatorship, the mass media were quantitatively and qualitatively on the increase.’105 In October 1924 the URI (Unione Radiofonica Italiana) was established, 105 Mino Argentieri, Il Cinema...

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