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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Women in Twentieth-Century Italy

ISBN 9781403995179
Publication Date January 2010
Formats Hardcover Ebook Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave
Series Gender and History

Over the course of the twentieth century, the rapid transformation of Italy from an impoverished, predominantly agricultural nation to one of the strongest economies in the world forged a fascinating and contradictory society where gender relations were a particular mix of modernity and tradition.

In this accessible and innovative study, Perry Willson provides a nuanced and insightful analysis of the impact of social, political, economic and cultural developments on Italian women's lives. She also explores how women were affected by, and how they themselves helped shape, key historical events such as the rise of Fascism, the two world wars, the 'economic miracle' of the post-war years and the cultural and political upheavals of the 1970s.

Women in Twentieth Century Italy is the first book-length overview of Italian women's experience during this period of intense and dramatic change. Drawing on the latest historiography in the field and written in a lively and engaging manner, it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Italy's recent past.

PERRY WILLSON is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Dundee, UK. Her previous publications include The Clockwork Factory: Women and Work in Fascist Italy (1993) and Peasant Women and Politics in Fascist Italy: the Massaie Rurali (2002).

List of Illustrations and Tables
Italian Women at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century
The 'Tower of Babel': First Wave Feminism
On the 'Home Front': World War One and its Aftermath, 1915-20
'Exemplary Wives and Mothers': Under Fascist Dictatorship
Doing their Duty for Nation (or Church): Mass Mobilisation during the Fascist Ventennio
War Comes to Women 1940-45
Moving into Town: New Social and Economic Roles 1945-67
Women's Politics in the Shadow of the Cold War 1945-67
'Io sono mia': Feminism in the 'Great Cultural Revolution' 1968-80
The 'Dual Presence': More Work and Fewer Children in the Age of Materialism
Select Bibliography


'A wonderfully fresh and informative survey of the extraordinary changes in the lives of women in Italy in the 20th century. Vivid, perceptive, wide ranging, and a real pleasure to read.' - Christopher Duggan, University of Reading, UK
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