Italian Fascism and Utopia

CF Burdett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Considering a number of recent works on the ideology and culture of Fascism, the article explores how the concept of utopia, as formulated by different thinkers, can prove useful in attempting to unlock some of the mechanisms through which Fascism sought to manipulate the imagination and the aspirations of Italians. It focuses on the written accounts of writers and journalists who reported on the supposed achievements of the regime both in Italy and in the newly established colonies. It examines the cult of Rome, which was increasingly to become the symbolic language of Fascism, and explores how, in the writings of one journalist after another, the regime was represented as having recovered the powerful utopia of the ancient past. The article then looks at the kind of rhetoric that surrounded some of the most important building projects that took place in Italy in the 1930s. It suggests that the creation of a blueprint for an ideal society was central to this rhetoric and that the notion of the arrival in an earthly paradise was to form the master narrative for most representations of Mussolini's newly acquired African territories. The article then looks at some of the competing versions of utopia that were presented, albeit subliminally, in the official media of the time. It examines some of the dystopian images of the United States that were manufactured on the eve of the Second World War. It concludes by pointing to the violence and intolerance imbedded within the utopian project of Italian Fascism.
Translated title of the contributionItalian Fascism and Utopia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93 - 108
Number of pages16
JournalHistory of the Human Sciences
Volume16 (1)
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Sage


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