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Mussolini’s Mobilities

Transnational Movements between Fascist Italy and Italian Communities Abroad

In: Journal of Migration History
Author:
Matteo Pretelli University of Warwick, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Italian Studies, University Road, Coventry cv4 7 al, UK
m.pretelli@warwick.ac.uk; matteo.pretelli@tiscali.it

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This article taps into a growing literature interested in the multifold relations between sending-states and their migrants who have settled in foreign countries. Specifically, it considers circular and transnational (symbolic and concrete) mobility that Mussolini’s Italy put in motion towards, and including, its communities of emigrants. The dictator sought to use migrants as lobbies and incorporate them in a totalitarian building-state project in Italy. With the objective of reinforcing ties with the communities themselves and obtaining their consent, the fascist regime established an outflow of propagandistic materials and a network of travellers who were entrusted to export a ‘visual presence’ of the homeland outside of Italy. At the same time, Rome encouraged ethnic Italians to undertake root-tourism in Italy to observe the supposed ‘achievements’ accomplished by the regime in the homeland. After the proclamation of the Italian empire in 1936, fascism elevated its tone and by the outbreak of the Second World War the regime sought the repatriation of Italians settled abroad. Yet this project failed because of the unwillingness of migrants to betray their host countries and favour the imperialist designs of the Italian dictator.

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