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Faschistische Kultur. Revolution und Gewalt im totalitären Regime: Ein Fallbeispiel von zwei Peripherien

Frank Vollmer

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Fascist Culture. Revolution and violence in the Abyssinian war: an example from two different peripheries.

Discussions about a scientifically fruitful concept of culture have in no way been brought to a conclusion. Instead, a kind of fertile insecurity, amplified by recent innovative studies, has been established. The essay proposes a definition of culture that is broad, non-normative, and dynamic. It thus seeks to evade the dilemmas of concepts that tend to overly delimit their notion of culture and seeks to definitely open „culture“ also for the analysis of non-democratic, illiberal, and even totalitarian regimes, as was Italian Fascism. The essay examines the Abyssinian War (1935/6), which serves as a first and crucial example of a Fascist culture based on political violence abroad. Focusing its attention on the two Italian cities of Arezzo (Tuscany) and Terni (Umbria), it shows how the regime sought to procure its interpretational models of „revolution“ and „romanity“ into two totally different local peripheries: Fascism strove to „localise“ its cultural interventions, notwithstanding its otherwise strongly centralist character. Thus, it tried to solve the manifold tensions between tradition and modernity that it happened upon in contemporary Italy and that it further sharpened by its own political culture.