Domenica La Banca

Charity or Assistance? The Onmi Neapolitan Federation (1926-1939)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Welfare State - Fascism social politics - Motherhood.

Founded in 1925, the National Organization for Protection of Motherhood and Infancy (Onmi) was the first and most important Italian state-controlled organization aiming at providing mothers and children needs. The statutes assigned to the institution a large educational, medical, and social programme. Based on a variety of sources (central and local administration records; "Maternità e infanzia", the Omni official journal), the article deals with the case of Onmi in Naples from the very beginning up to the 1939. It analyzes the territorial structure, budgets, activities, and managers, and the increasing role plaid by women both as employees and managers. The study compares the Neapolitan with other provincial cases, studied so far; demonstrates the endemic lack of economic resources in a depressed economy; reveals the emergence of a patronage system characterizing the management choices and initiatives and fuelling conflicts between centre and periphery, state and party. It underlines the failure of this particular institution to fulfil its tasks, to mitigate the difficult conditions of mothers and children in Naples, and to implement public welfare.

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