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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Green Rhetoric in Blackshirts: Italian Fascism and the Environment

Marco Armiero and Wilko Graf von Hardenberg

Environment and History 19 (2013): 283-311. doi: 10.3197/096734013X13690716950064

In comparison with the significant historiographical work on the German case, specifically on Nazi environmental policies and ideology, studies on such issues for other Fascist regimes are still rather rare. This article attempts partially to fill this gap, at least as regards the Italian case, offering a general overview of the Fascist regime and its environmental politics and narratives. Analysing how Fascists appropriated Italian landscapes through both discourses and concrete policies, this paper examines the construction of a Fascist nature as a rhetorical, symbolic and geographical space. In particular, this essay explores the combined process of appropriation and expropriation through the analysis of two diverse but intertwined issues: firstly, Fascist rural ideology as a narrative on the mutual constituency of nature and people and secondly, the creation of the first Italian national parks, their successes and failures as institutions of nature conservation and their role as symbols of the nature/society divide. While blending the ideas of race, landscape, history, modernity and ruralism, Fascists shaped both the national environment and general ideas about nature in a narrative which affected the very object of the narration – that is, nature itself. 

KEYWORDS: Fascism; Italy; landscape; rurality; nature conservation.

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