39th World Congress ISS
Erevan 11-14 June 2009
Sociology at the Crossroads
The Body of the Nation: Sociology, Metaphor
an...
After the tragedy
• The First World War represented the sanguinary
epilogue of the era of nationalizations and gave birth ...
Metamorphosis of the body as a social
drama
• The research, based on idiographical documentation and
historical sources, t...
First Act. Stepping into horror and pity
QuickTime™ e un
decompressore TIFF (Non compresso)
sono necessari per visualizza...
The protocol and the pilgrimage
•
•
•
•
•
The criteria for the composition of
the commission
A rigorous protocol for sel...
An archetypical reference: the body of Osiris
•
•
•
QuickTime™ e un
decompressore TIFF (Non compresso)
sono necessari per ...
Second act. The choice of the corpse and
the shamanic ritual
•
•
A crucial moment of the social
drama is represented by t...
The scene as was described by a reporter
who witnessed it
•
“The woman kneeled down in a
prayer…being left alone she seem...
Symbolic topography and invention of the
memory
QuickTime™ e un
decompressore TIFF (Non compresso)
sono necessari per vis...
Third act: the March of the Population
QuickTime™ e un
decompressore TIFF (Non compresso)
sono necessari per visualizzare...
The mutilated Victory: not just a metaphor
•
The organizations of veterans,
mutilated and disabled
servicemen are in the ...
The emotional mobilization of the Roman
Myth as a counterpresentistic representation
• During the march the
nationalistic ...
The final act: apotheosis and
sacralization
QuickTime™ e un
decompressore visualizzarecompresso)
sono necessari per TIFF (...
The flags of the 335 fighting regiments of the Royal Army flutter while a
square of all the military corps present arms…
...
The king kisses the golden medal bestowed to the Unknown Hero and
fixes it on the coffin with a golden hammer …
QuickTime...
The making of a nationalistic imaginary
•
•
The ceremony has the clear meaning of giving symbolic evidence to the newbor...
A political narration
•
The narration shows the genesis
of a political myth anticipating that
particular kind of discipli...
Nationalism as a bodily political religion
• The mnemotopoi, the ritualization of the event, the
pilgrimage of the coffin,...
Secularization and physicality of the sacred
•
The sacralization of the Body of the Nation can be analyzed as a
paradoxi...
The narration of a social ritual
• Each society can be described as a system of rites and
rites are the means by which a c...
Rite, meaning and symbolic strategies
• The event is elaborated as a political ritual
(Lukes, 1977) able not only to produ...
of 21

Porro unknown soldier. A sociological analysis of the myth of the Unknown Soldier in Italy after the First World War.

The narration of the Unknown Soldier in Italy between the First World War and the fascist dictatorship represents a crucial turning point of the Nation building, feeding a totalitarian representation of it. It was made possible by the conflicts among different political actors. Eearly in the 20s, however, the myth of the Unknown Soldier developed a wide repertory of cultural representations, including very ancient symbolic roots, still able to support a nationalistic interpretation of a collective drama.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Education      News & Politics      Technology      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Porro unknown soldier. A sociological analysis of the myth of the Unknown Soldier in Italy after the First World War.

  • 1. 39th World Congress ISS Erevan 11-14 June 2009 Sociology at the Crossroads The Body of the Nation: Sociology, Metaphor and the National Subject A Bodily Nation Building Nicola Porro Dipartimento di Scienze motorie e della salute Laboratorio sulle culture dello sport, della salute e del movimento Università di Cassino (Italy) nicola_porro@fastwebnet.it QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine.
  • 2. After the tragedy • The First World War represented the sanguinary epilogue of the era of nationalizations and gave birth to the contemporary mass societies. • It also produced the myth of the soldier and the main symbolic apparatuses for nationalistic ideologies. • The narration of the Unknown Soldier (Milite Ignoto) is one of the most meaningful examples of the construction of a political myth. • In postwar Italy it constituted both an instrument for an aware political strategy and an arena of conflict among different meanings and social representations.
  • 3. Metamorphosis of the body as a social drama • The research, based on idiographical documentation and historical sources, tries to describe the birth of a nationalistic mythology through the analysis of a complex social mass rite able to transform a poor nobody’s body in a sacralized collective body. • The Milite Ignoto’s body becomes in such a way the body of the Nation. The narration of this metamorphosis can be devoleped by a sociological point of view analyzing four acts of the social drama and three connected crucial dimensions: its context, its meanings and the symbolic apparatuses mobilized.
  • 4. First Act. Stepping into horror and pity QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. • QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. During the Autumn 1921 an official commission, appointed by the Parliament, visited 11 selected areas in the Oriental Alps, representing the main settings of the conflict, due to the violence of battles and the number of fallen soldiers. Eleven corpses of unknown soldiers were exhumated and, moving all around the Eastern Italian Regions, the coffins were carried in a sort of popular pilgrimage till their provisional destination: the basilica of Aquileia where the coffin of the Milite Ignoto had to be choosed.
  • 5. The protocol and the pilgrimage • • • • • The criteria for the composition of the commission A rigorous protocol for selecting the corpses and giving a chance to all the representatives The spontaneous involvement of people and the making of a collective ritual An emerging conflict of meaning: religious and political representation; elaboration of collective mourning vs the emphasis on the ‘mutilated victory’ Which is the real mission of the pilgrimage into horror and pity? QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine.
  • 6. An archetypical reference: the body of Osiris • • • QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. • • A mobile centre of the narration Pilgrimage in mnemotopoi and emotional mobilization The civil religion of the Nation (Bellah, 1967) is beginning in its competition with the religious paradigm Emphasis on search and recomposition of the corpses The archetypical theme of the body of Osiris (J. Assmann, 2001) as a political metaphor
  • 7. Second act. The choice of the corpse and the shamanic ritual • • A crucial moment of the social drama is represented by the choice of the corpse The task is assigned to the mother of a young soldier whose corpse was never identified A dramatic sequence of rites and events The concelebration of the ritual, the totemic outfit and the shamanic function of the woman and her body QuickTime™ e (Non decompressore TIFF un compresso) • sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. •
  • 8. The scene as was described by a reporter who witnessed it • “The woman kneeled down in a prayer…being left alone she seemed lost for a moment…she had one hand held tight to her heart while with the other she nervously gripped her cheeks. Then, raising her eyes toward the impressive naves in an act of invocation, she seemed to wait for God to choose a coffin. Then…holding her breath, she reached the second-last one in front of which, swinging her body, uttering a shrill cry and calling her dead son by his name, she bent and fell prostrate, panting on her knees and higging the coffin. The Milite ignoto has been chosen” QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine.
  • 9. Symbolic topography and invention of the memory QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. • • • • QuickTime™ (Non decompressore TIFF e un compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. The liturgy and the construction of an imagined community The unidentified hero and his ten fellows. The mysterious will revealed by the Mother’s body A very important role is exerted by the physical and symbolic location of the rite The Aquileia basilica as the fixed centre of the narration and as the reference to the Myth of Romanity: the starting point for a mythopoietic itinerary
  • 10. Third act: the March of the Population QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine. • QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non c sono necessari per visualizzare On the morning of October the 29th the special train carrying the coffin of the Milite Ignoto, composed of 17 wagons and driven only by veteran railwaymen holding war decorations moved from Aquileia to Rome, where it will arrive one week later after crossing a large part of the country.The travel constitued the most impressive mobilization of people in the Italian history after the unification of the country. The train and the coffin represent the new mobile centre of the narration, but at the same time a lot of social actors break into the scenario of the social drama adding new meanings and an increasing political sense to the event.
  • 11. The mutilated Victory: not just a metaphor • The organizations of veterans, mutilated and disabled servicemen are in the front row with their pennants everywhere • The nationalistic claim regarding the ‘mutilated Victory’ is visually paraded through the corporal stigmata of the survivors of the battles • The emotional feeling of pity is more and more substituted by the resentment • The mobile centre incorporates the symbolic construction of the religious pilgrimage
  • 12. The emotional mobilization of the Roman Myth as a counterpresentistic representation • During the march the nationalistic propaganda seems to take more and more place, imposing its meaning to the sacralization of the unknown hero’s body. The rite gives birth to a ceremony of resurrection officiated by living anonymous masses who ask to be born again. • The symbolic construction of a new Italy implies to give eternal life to the body of the Nation. The evocation of the Roman spirit is celebrated in the journey connecting Aquileia and Rome as a sort of myth of re-foundation, including elements of invention of the tradition, for a wounded and resented collective identity.
  • 13. The final act: apotheosis and sacralization QuickTime™ e un decompressore visualizzarecompresso) sono necessari per TIFF (Non quest'immagine. • After reaching Rome, on November the 4th, the third anniversary of the victory, the Unknown Soldier’s coffin is accompanied to his final destination by million citizens arrived from every part of Italy. The body is buried under the statue of Goddess Rome having as a watchman the equestrial statue of king Vittorio Emanuele the 2nd. The location, which represents the last fixed centre of the narration, is in the monumental structure of Vittoriano (Altare della Patria).
  • 14. The flags of the 335 fighting regiments of the Royal Army flutter while a square of all the military corps present arms… QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine.
  • 15. The king kisses the golden medal bestowed to the Unknown Hero and fixes it on the coffin with a golden hammer … QuickTime™ e un decompressore TIFF (Non compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine.
  • 16. The making of a nationalistic imaginary • • The ceremony has the clear meaning of giving symbolic evidence to the newborn civil religion of the Nation. At the same time it marks the prevalence of the nationalistic particularistic representation of the narration against the patriotic and universalistic one. During the rite bands of armed squads kill six persons and wound more than one hundred and seventy people whose only fault is either to wear a red tie or not to have lifted up their hat prompty when the military pennants were passing. The symbolic apparatuses which will be led by the fascism are now on disposal of the nationalistic imaginary. The National Fascist Party was founded on November the 7th 1921. The Mussolini’s March on Rome will be held exactly one year later, on October the 28th 1922. QuickTime™ (Non decompressore TIFF e un compresso) sono necessari per visualizzare quest'immagine.
  • 17. A political narration • The narration shows the genesis of a political myth anticipating that particular kind of disciplinary society (Foucault, 1975) which will be identified with the European Fascisms. The Unknown Soldier’s body becomes the necessary mediator in the memory of the event (Connerton, 1989). His sacralization aims both at evoking and removing the atrocity of war, gives birth to a social construction (Berger and Luckmann, 1966; Edelman, 1967), emphasizes a controversial interpretation. It does not simply deal with civil religion as a variation of a wider process of secularization. • It is also an example of that abuse of memory (see the counterpresentistic evocation of Romanity) that feeds a totalizing memory, deaf to any alterity (Crespi, 2004) and able to merge four kinds of memory (Grande, 2008): the historical, the collective, the common and the public one in order to support a particularistic representation as a commonlyshared history (political memory). The latter is normative, preceptive and authoritarian, excites collective feelings and uses an emotional and symbolic repertory.
  • 18. Nationalism as a bodily political religion • The mnemotopoi, the ritualization of the event, the pilgrimage of the coffin, the myth of Romanity, the happening by turns of both mobile and fixed centre of the narration give birth to a myth of passion reproducing the religious themes of martyrdom and resurrection but does not favour a final reconciliation. The myth represents on the contrary an efficacious fiction able to create a topography of memory and to mobilitate the involved communities in a dynamics of ritualization (a public and allusive liturgy of the body). The narration inscribes the Unknown Soldier’s body in a symbolic order resembling a myth of foundation.
  • 19. Secularization and physicality of the sacred • The sacralization of the Body of the Nation can be analyzed as a paradoxical outcome of secularization, a form of neopaganism which is coeval to a public return to the physicality of the sacred. This phenomenon can be particularly observed in the peripheric areas of Catholic Europe at the end of the First World War (see the apparitions of Fatima in 1917 or the stigmate on Padre Pio’s body in 1918).
  • 20. The narration of a social ritual • Each society can be described as a system of rites and rites are the means by which a community confirms itself (Navarini, 2003) • Each rite needs (i) a physical meeting of people prone to be symbolically mobilized and excited, (ii) a focus (the fixed/mobile centre of the narration), (iii) a shared emotional feeling, (iv) the exposition of sacred objects and symbols of belongings in which the community can identify itself • All these characters can be found in the narration, underlining that the hero’s body itself satisfies the functions on (iv) being submitted to a process of sacralization ‘in progress’.
  • 21. Rite, meaning and symbolic strategies • The event is elaborated as a political ritual (Lukes, 1977) able not only to produce a moral unification of the community and to enforce te social order (according to a functionalistic approach), but also (i) to express a conflict of meaning and to theatralize it and (ii) to produce a collective excitement in destroying minorities. • The narration of the Milite Ignoto designs a political arena in which different groups and different symbolic strategies face and fight each other.