Appropriation and Displacement: Postmemorial Articulations of the Italian Antifascist Resistance

Alessandra Pellegrini De Luca


Building on Marianne Hirsch’s notion of “Postmemory” (1992), this article addresses the memory of the Italian Resistance, the 1943-45 partisan struggle against Nazi-Fascism. Although the Resistance was made up of people of varied political beliefs sharing an antifascist view and aiming at freeing their country from Nazi-Fascism, its memory remains divisive within the Republic. This article examines this controversial memory and offers a discussion of its ramifications in Italy today, arguing that the postmemory of the Resistance was informed by mechanisms of appropriation and displacement. The generations coming after 1945 were often overwhelmed by the stories of their predecessors: this undermined the political potential of the re-signification of the past in their time. The article contextualizes such displacement within the crisis of nation-states and discusses how, in a globalized context, historical memory can be instead a paradigm to connect to unfamiliar others in the name of common values.

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