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Football and Fascism: Local Identities and National Integration in Mussolini's Italy

Martin, Simon David; (2003) Football and Fascism: Local Identities and National Integration in Mussolini's Italy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Football was institutionalised as a Fascist game in 1926 after which, it was exploited domestically as a political soporific to develop a sense of Italian identity and internationally as a diplomatic tool to improve the standing of the regime in the global arena. By studying the experiences of club teams in Florence and Bologna, plus the success of the national team, this thesis draws conclusions as to the coexistence of apparently contradictory local, national and Fascist identities. Furthermore it contributes to the debate regarding the regime's attempt to manufacture consent. The formation of the first national league in 1929, contributed to the emergence of a number of clubs which dominated European competition. Internationally, the Italian team won the 1934 World Cup, held in Italy; the 1936 Olympic soccer tournament; and retained the World Cup trophy in France in 1938. Yet, despite the arguably successful attempt to construct an imagined community via the politicisation of this aspect of popular mass culture, on occasion, the regime met serious resistance, thereby exposing some of the real conflicts and contradictions that existed within the Fascist society and state. Following extensive archival research in Florence and Bologna, this thesis also compares the histories of the respective city teams and the differing ways in which they contributed to the formation of local and national identities. Significant in the formation of these identities were the revolutionary stadia built by the regime for both clubs, which are examined as part of a detailed consideration of the politicisation of sports architecture under Fascism. While contributing to the cultural history of Fascist Italy, this thesis draws overall conclusions that suggest the regime's attempt to use football to form identity and manufacture consensus, actually forced it to recognise existing tensions within society, thereby permitting the existence of diversity and individuality.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Football and Fascism: Local Identities and National Integration in Mussolini's Italy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Football; Italy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100421
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