Urban Space, Violence and Gender Identity in Post-War Italian Crime Fiction
Chapter 3. Female Characters and Gender Identity
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In Chapter 2, this study concluded that the role and use of violence to distinguish criminal from non-criminal goes into crisis and becomes a matter of investigation. Scerbanenco’s analysis of criminal characters and their reasons for embarking on a criminal career is not explored deeply. This provides the reader with a ‘comfortable’ distance, which precludes any possible in-depth moral evaluation of these characters other than in terms of the negative consequences of the economic miracle. The economic miracle can therefore be considered the major traumatic event, which had an impact on the way society developed in the post-war period, not only in terms of the transformation of the urban space and the use of violence by the new generation of criminals (as discussed in Chapters 1 and 2), but also in the way masculine and feminine identities were constructed and shaped. In this respect, Jacques Lacan specifies that an event is traumatic “on the basis of the traumatic consequences it has on the actual behaviour of the subject” (1988: 189). This provides an additional stimulating critical approach, which focuses on the recognition of symptoms caused by repressed traumas. After providing contextual historical information on the major contemporary events and socio-political and economic transformations, which have resulted in cultural traumas, and played a crucial role in shaping masculine and feminine identities, this chapter will focus on Scerbanenco’s representation of gender, in particular women’s social role and the reader’s perception of it, by examining the four Lamberti novels as a symptomatic reaction...
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