Italian Fascism, Spiritualism and Aesthetics
In this presentation the centrality of an aesthetic approach to fascism will be argued. The aim of the talk is to reframe the relevance of spirit in fascism's self-definition and to problematize interpretations that have emphasized fascism’s recourse to ethics and moral values. Fascism's appeal to spiritualism needs to be reconsidered by taking into account its anti-materialist implications, as showcased in the regime's radical attempt to transform the Italians by intervening on their bodies. The fascist regime's aesthetic rules on how to march, salute, dress and behave can be looked at as a conscious attempt at eliminating individual differences in order to create a new fascist subject.