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Title: Imagining Italy : a sociological history of visions of Italy and the Italians in England from 1450 to the present day
Author: Thorpe, Christopher Martin
ISNI:       0000 0001 3533 0374
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis examines the production of discursive visions of Italy and the Italians in England (and later Britain) during the period spanning approximately 1450 to the present day. Taking as its analytical starting point the sociologically problematic issue of why Italy and the Italians are imagined and represented in the ways they are in the present day, the study examines various discursive visions of Italy and the Italians which it explicates with reference to changes in the social organisation of cultural production in England during the designated timeframe. The main theoretical apparatus utilised are Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, capital and field. The data considered include primary and secondary literary sources, documents of various kinds, film texts and lifestyle magazines, among other relevant sources. The thesis begins with a survey of the events of the 15th and 16th centuries leading to the installation of Italian humanistic and classical knowledges within the English education system and the role that this played in the production of the earliest Italianate visions. The significance of classical knowledge in re-instigating upper- class travel to Italy in the 18th century, and in turn influencing what were largely negative perceptions of the Italians, is the subject of the following chapter. Turning to the period spanning the later 18th and earlier 19 th centuries, the focus shifts to the production of more favourable Italianate visions particularly those formulated by the romantic poets. During the period spanning 1830 to 1914 and the onset of World War One, the continuing tendency towards the production of positive depictions of Italy and the Italians is depicted. Finally, I describe how and why economic forces acting upon the field of cultural production have come to play such a powerful role, not only in determining the extent and ways in which the past informs the present, but more broadly how we think about Italy and the Italians in the ways that we do today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available