IMPEGNO IN 20TH-21ST CENTURY ITALIAN CULTURE
My main area of research revolves around the concept of impegno in Italian culture, taking an interdisciplinary approach that resides in a variety of fields such as Italian history, literature, cinema, and theater, as a privileged standpoint for literary criticism.
My current project is a natural development of all my previous studies. I will be working on “Impegno in 20th-21st century Italian Culture.” This period includes a great number of intellectuals who have put engagement at the center of their writings and activities with a wide array of differing perspectives, ideas and practices. Traditionally, the Italian word impegno has been associated with the idea of “political hegemony,” as elaborated by Gramsci. Engaged writers had to mold a collective consciousness in order to achieve revolutionary changes in society.
From the 1960s onwards, however, this view has progressively lost its impact and opened a space for other notions of impegno that reflect new attitudes towards the relationship between politics and the arts. Since then, thanks to the writings of Calvino, Vittorini and Pasolini, in contrast to any restrictive ideological definition, impegno has been considered emancipatory and closer to social (rather than only political) engagement. In this sense, the relationship between politics and intellectuals has shifted from Gramsci’s concept of hegemony. Intellectuals are no longer the “spokespeople” for existing political needs, but are focused more on emerging social issues. Drawing on a variety of cultural fields and artistic media, from literature to cinema, theater, music, and blogs, this project will focus on forms of engagement in Italian culture, from the 50s to today. My aim is to demonstrate how Italian authors, artists, thinkers, poets, musicians, directors, activists (among others, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dacia Maraini, Fabrizio De Andrè, Rossana Rossanda, Nanni Moretti, Lina Wertmüller, Luther Blissett, Wu Ming, Carlo Lucarelli, Igiaba Scego, Roberto Saviano, Matteo Garrone, Roberta Torre, Marco Tullio Giordana, Fred Kuwornu), through the notion of artistic commitment, or impegno, have narrated the transformations of Italian society from the post-war “economic boom” to the revolution of ’68, the “Years of Lead”, Tangentopoli, the rise of the Second Republic, the mafia, migration, and “Black Italy.”