What Italy is like, today

Since 1945, Italy has changed socially, politically and culturally. 

By the 1980s and 1990s it was joined in extinction by the class of factory workers and an entire system of production-Fordism. These vanishing left deep cultural, social and politica gaps. Mass political parties-which had patterned Italian life for most of the post-war period-have also gone. 

Italy is unrecognisable from the country that emerged from the war in ruins in 1945, but is also light years away from the optimism of the boom years in the 1950s and 1960s.

Changes of this dramatic importance have not been managed by Italy’s political class, which has preferred to enrich themselves and remain in power for as long as they possibly could.

Italy was a society that, ’felt that it was not governed’ and the effects were serious and long-term. Apart from a brief and ephemeral boom in the 1980s, Italy’s economy has flat-lined. Much of the post war-period, for Italy, has been lived in the shadow of a crisis.

Looking back, if we take out two periods often seen as economics boom-roughly 1955-65 and 1980s 9but certainly not the whole decade)-the talk has often been of an economic crisis, and this has usually been accompanied by claims of a political crisis and even of a ‘crisis of the system’.

In the 21 century new generations of Italians – the post-baby boomers and millennials-enjoy less job security than their parents. Many left the country altogether to improve their qualifications, and find work. 

Following the financial crash of 2008 the crisis has been long and deep, affecting all levels of society. 

In this regard, I wonder whether Italy will ever emerge from this permanent state of crisis.

This motivated me to investigate and study my country in an original way. Studying and working in Italy is not enough. Going abroad and observing your country is the best way to understand it better and to love it even more. All things from another point of view can be better understood and that is what I wanted to do. 

With this in mind I’d like to go through the years starting after the end of the second world war, 1945, and analyse and discuss with you.

It is a sense of crisis and transformation in Italy history, where moments of deep crisis are broken up by periods of calm and hope. Looking back, these periods of hope and boom seem concentrated and limited-the immediate post-war moment afte 1945, the economic miracle, parts of the 1980s, Tangentopoli. 

Otherwise, it has been the sense of crisis and even decline that has held sway. Institutions themselves have struggled to achieve high level of legitimation amongst Italians.

Around 1930 Antonio Gramsci wrote in prison that ‘The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old are dying and the new cannot be born, in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear’.

In Italy, these ‘morbid symptoms’ have included a long period under the control of a business-personal ‘party’ whose actions were directed almost entirely to the interests of one man. 

Since 2011, Italy has been governed by a series of unelected leaders and technical or ’emergency’ governments that have constantly manipulated electoral laws to stay in power.

The nation today is unrecognisable from the country that emerged from the war in 1945. Physically, socially, culturally and economically, Italy has been reinvented. 

In 1945 there were still sharecroppers and landed great estates, and in the 1950s and 1960s vast factories employed up to 50,000 workers. These social and economic structures are now part of history. Mass politics has some and gone. The Cold War has been fought and won. None of the political parties that oversaw the transition to democracy still exist. Immigration impacts every area of the country, and generations o migrants have now grown up in Italy’s cities and provinces. 

This is still Italy today, in some ways it is not the country we know, study in school or read about. 

I believe that in order to have the best ideas and get to know the country better, that  helps us to understand who we are, what our identity is the history.

History helps us to understand where this country come from, but also indicates where it might be going. Given the surprise and shocks of the last seventy years, Italy’s future may not always be rosy, but it certainly won’t prove uneventful. 

I hope this will help you find answers to all the questions you have about Italy. And I hope my point of view can inspire you to want to know more.

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