Mussolini’s Mobilities

Transnational Movements between Fascist Italy and Italian Communities Abroad

in Journal of Migration History
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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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References

6

A. Gamlen, ‘The emigration state and the modern geopolitical imagination’, Political Geography, 27 (2008), 843–844; M.A. Waterbury, ‘Bridging the divide: Towards a comparative framework for understanding kin state and migrant-sending state diaspora politics’, in: Bauböck and Faist Diaspora and Transnationalism, 133, 143; E. Østergaard-Nielsen, ‘International Migration and Sending Countries: Key Issues and Themes’, in: S. Vertovec (ed.), Migration: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences, vol. 4 (London-New York 2010) 230.

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33

 See Esposizione Universale 1942, box 1107 folder 10782 and 10791, box 1064 folder 10231, box 1135 folder 11216, box 1028 folder 9770 subfolder 20 insert 1–2, box 1048 folder 9983 subfolder 5, acs.

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Dupont, ‘I Fasci’, 286; C. Baldoli, ‘Le Navi: Fascismo e vacanze in una colonia estiva per i figli degli italiani all’estero’, Memoria e Ricerca 6 (2000) 163–176.

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Baldoli, ‘Le Navi’, 168–69.

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F.B. Ventresco, ‘Italian-Americans and the Ethiopian Crisis’, Italian Americana 61 (Fall/Winter 1980) 14–15; A. Del Boca, L’Africa nella coscienza degli italiani: Miti, memorie, sconfitte (Milan 2002) 95–109; A. Melchiorri, Il nostro impero coloniale (Rome 1938) 38.

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Ciano, ‘Italiani’, 285; ‘Volontarismo’, L’Alcione; A. Grande, La Legione Parini (Florence 1937).

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C. Bagagli, Letture classe terza (Milan: Alfieri e Lacroix, 1941); O. Pedrazzi, Racconti dell’Italia lontana (Turin 1940); D. Fossa, Lavoro italiano nell’impero (Milan 1938); Scuole Italiane all’Estero, Storia e geografia per la iv classe elementare (Verona 1939); M. Zerqueni, Relazione sulle scuole d’italiano. Anno scolastico 1937–38, Philadelphia, 17 luglio 1938, as, Relazioni culturali, 1936–43, box 119, folder ‘Filadelfia, asmae.

50

P. Gioia, ‘L’Impero, la Libia e Rodi all’esposizione internazionale di New York,’ Rivista delle Colonie 13, 12 (1939) 1625–30; ‘Una Mostra dell’Italia d’Oltremare nel padiglione italiano dell’Esposizione Universale di New York,’ Le Colonie, 12 January 1939; ‘L’Italia e l’Impero all’Esposizione Universale di New York’ and ‘Le terre italiane d’oltremare’, Corriere dell’Impero (21 April 1939); Ministero Africa Italiana iii (1879–1955), Miscellanea, box 47, folder ‘Comitato per la documentazione dell’opera svolta in Africa’, asmae.

Figures

  • Touring the Mediterranean basin: ‘We are the emigrants of these days’. This image is taken from G. Ciano, ‘Italiani d’Oltr’Alpi e d’Oltremare,’ in: C.M. Garatti (ed.), Italiani di Mussolini in A.O. (Bologna: 1937), 281.

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