Today, does it still make sense to talk about fascism and racism? Contemporary uses and abuses of two historical concepts

Interdisciplinary research


In the Italian political-media debate, there is a habit of referring to the experience of Fascism to qualify current problems or possible risks, as if today there were so many similarities with the past that we are faced with the danger of its return. In fact the use of adjectives such as fascist and racist in most cases does not originate from any historical investigation, but arises from superficial and vague juxtapositions, or by the simple intention of scornfully dismissing something that a political opponent has said or done. In the same way and in the same sense, these uses disregard what is outlined in the 12th Transitional and Final Provision of the Constitution, and in art. 1 l. n. 645/1952, also firmly linked to historical Fascism, its symbols and its expressions. The interdisciplinary work that we propose aims to restore historical-analytical solidity to these semantic fields and addresses the operators of information and communication, in the idea that a greater critical control, for their part, can improve the political-media debate on these issues. The research will be conducted according to these disciplinary and methodological perspectives: linguistic-semiotic, historical, psycho-social and legal.

Research Group

Francesca Della Santa, Enrico Papa, Beatrice Tioli, Gabriele Zanella

Other departments involved

Department of History, Culture and Civilisation - DISCI


Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna

Project duration

November 2019 - November 2020


Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna: euro 20,000