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This paper aims to analyze the problematic relationship between the Left, the commercial revolution and the progressive growth of mass consumption during the Italian…
This paper aims to analyze the problematic relationship between the Left, the commercial revolution and the progressive growth of mass consumption during the Italian economic miracle.
Taking for example the city of Bologna, the most important city run by the Italian communist party, the paper problematizes the socio-economic and political – institutional processes connected with the emergence of “American-like” commercial and distribution strategies, and of consumerist identities.
Bologna’s administrators governed the commerce through a rationalization supported by urban planning, including the establishment of a chain of “associated supermarkets”, built on municipal areas and financed by a mixed-capital company set up for that purpose. At the same time, they sought to protect small retailers to gain their political consensus and to contain crisis-related anxieties among the consumers, a category which has still an uncertain identity in Italy.
Much remains to be seen in the characteristics of the Italian miracle, and in the manner it was ruled. The case of Bologna illuminates an important piece of the Italian Left’s attempt to interpret and to lead the modernization of the country.