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Progressive nostalgia. Appropriating memories of protest and contention in contemporary Italy

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Progressive nostalgia. Appropriating memories of protest and contention in contemporary Italy


More than 30 years ago the violent death - on 11 March 1977 - of a left-wing student in the Italian city of Bologna brought an end to a student protest movement, the ‘Movement of ’77’. Today nostalgia dominates public commemorations of the movement as it manifested itself in Bologna. However, this memory is not an exclusive memory of the 1977 generation. A number of young, left-wing activists that draw on the myth of 1977 in Bologna and in particular on the memory of the local Workers Autonomy faction appropriate this memory in a similarly nostalgic manner. This article then explores the value of nostalgia in generational memory: how does it relate to past, present and future, and to what extent does it influence processes of identity formation among youth groups? I argue that nostalgia is more than a longing for the past, and that it can be conceived as progressive and future-orientated, providing empowerment for specific social groups.

Hajek, Andrea Progressive nostalgia. Appropriating memories of protest and contention in contemporary Italy. [Discussion or working paper] (Unpublished)


Item Type: Discussion or working paper
Additional Information: This paper was prepared during the author's time as Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, 2011.
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: nostalgia, generational memory, 1970s, Italian student movements, Workers Autonomy.
Divisions: Institute of Modern Languages Research
Collections: IMLR Fellows
Depositing User:
URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/3305
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