Walter S. Baroni

The communist self-narration. Paradoxical injunction and narrative forms in party organisation

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Autobiography, Self Writing, Italian Communist Party (PCI), Construction of the Political Self, Political Paradoxical Injunction.

This article analyses the autobiographies written by the PCI’s militants in the first decade after the Second World War. It focuses on the organisational imperative to which party members were subjected, i.e. the injunction to be «active», pointing out its paradoxical nature and the impossibility for militants to comply with it. It then shows how this double bind situation translates into the activists’ self-narratives by giving them the specific form of a confessional speech act. Finally, it moves from the discursive to the narrative plane and directs the attention on the most relevant feature of the party autobiographies: the primacy of the narrator over the character. If the autobiography is characterised by the shared identity of the author, narrator and character, the communist autobiographical account is defined by the absorption of the character by the narrator – while the position of the author is not relevant in this specific game of discursive power. So the communist «activisation» of the militants turns into the narrative subordination of the bearer of the action – the character – to the master of the meaning of the action – the narrator.

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