Famiglia, famiglie, identità italiana

Autore: Giorgia Alessi
In: Storica. 55 • anno XIX, 2013
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Family, families, Italian identity

The essay critically examines the origins and the explanatory value of the commonplace according to which some Italian «evils» would be tied to the excessive weight of family solidarity which, in its degenerate form, originated a long-lasting structure, i.e. «familism». Such an idea is reinforced by the dualist representations of Europe which – since the studies of the Cambridge group in the 1960’s and subsequent variations – contrasted a Mediterranean area characterized by an extended family and a young age of marriage, less modernized, with a North-Western reality characterized by a precocious affirmation of the nuclear family and a later age of marriage, the driving force of economic development and competitive individualism. The author complicates and falsifies such a picture, pointing out on the one hand the absence of a unique Italian family model and the diffusion of the nuclear family in Southern Italy only; on the other hand – on the basis of women’s studies – the importance. in the history of Italian society, of further elements, relatively independent from family morphology: e.g. family and patronage ties, the weight of primogeniture, the role of the dowry, the sharecropping character of agriculture. If we want to find out the significant elements of the Italian «peculiarity», these are more likely to be found in the long-lasting political and cultural role of the Church in the countryside, and the low level of literacy and information.

Parole chiave: Famiglia; Familismo; Identità italiana
Keywords: Family; Familism; Italian Identity; Modernization