Building a Civil Society: Associations, Public Life, and the Origins of Modern Italy

Steven C. Soper

© 2013

The most passionate advocates of Italy’s unification in the nineteenth century possessed an almost limitless faith in the benefits of civic association. They also shared a common concern: once Italian unification was achieved and various freedoms were established, would ordinary Italians naturally become responsible, progressive citizens – especially after centuries of foreign rule, regional division, and economic decline? Most unification advocates doubted that their fellow citizens could form a modern, progressive civil society on their own, or that a vibrant association life would develop from the ground up.

Building a Civil Society is the first book-length English-language study of associational life in nineteenth-century Italy. Drawing on extensive research in published and unpublished documents – including associational records, newspapers, periodicals, government documents, guidebooks, exhibition catalogues, memoirs, and private letters – Steven C. Soper provides a complex account of Italian liberalism during Europe’s age of association. His study also raises important questions about the role that associations play in emerging democracies.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003414

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2013

    From: $73.50

    Regular Price: $98.00

    ISBN 9781442645035
  • PUBLISHED DEC 2013

    From: $73.50

    Regular Price: $98.00

Quick Overview

Drawing on extensive research in published and unpublished documents – including associational records, newspapers, periodicals, government documents, guidebooks, exhibition catalogues, memoirs, and private letters – Steven C. Soper provides a complex account of Italian liberalism during Europe’s age of association.

Building a Civil Society: Associations, Public Life, and the Origins of Modern Italy

Steven C. Soper

© 2013

The most passionate advocates of Italy’s unification in the nineteenth century possessed an almost limitless faith in the benefits of civic association. They also shared a common concern: once Italian unification was achieved and various freedoms were established, would ordinary Italians naturally become responsible, progressive citizens – especially after centuries of foreign rule, regional division, and economic decline? Most unification advocates doubted that their fellow citizens could form a modern, progressive civil society on their own, or that a vibrant association life would develop from the ground up.

Building a Civil Society is the first book-length English-language study of associational life in nineteenth-century Italy. Drawing on extensive research in published and unpublished documents – including associational records, newspapers, periodicals, government documents, guidebooks, exhibition catalogues, memoirs, and private letters – Steven C. Soper provides a complex account of Italian liberalism during Europe’s age of association. His study also raises important questions about the role that associations play in emerging democracies.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘Steven Soper has provided a compelling and fascinating study on the ways in which associational life, its limits and breadth, and its weaknesses and strengths informed national discourses on civic duty and citizenship.’


    Aliza S. Wong
    American Historical Review, February 2015

    ‘Stimulating and very readable study’


    Roland Sart
    The Journal of Modern History vol 87:02:2015

    Building a Civil Society offers a deeply researched and elegantly written history of associational life in Northeastern Italy in the second half of the nineteenth century. In a field dominated by cultural histories and textual analyses, this is the only study to provide a rich and empirically grounded micro-historical examination of the topic. The scholarship is impeccable, and it is presented in clear, jargon-free prose.”


    Anthony L. Cardoza, Department of History, Loyola University of Chicago
  • Author Information

    Steven C. Soper is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Georgia.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    Chapter 1 – In Search of Associational Life

    Chapter 2 – Poetry and Prose in the Risorgimento

    Chapter 3 – A New Public

    Chapter 4 – Popular Capitalism

    Chapter 5 – Notable Politics

    Chapter 6 – The Death of a Generation

    Chapter 7 – Unknown Territory

    Conclusion

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