Renato Camurri

The guardians of the nation: the notables and the organization of politics in liberal Italy

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The essay analyzes the meaning of this entry in different national contexts. It focuses in particular on the French version of the term, which appears to be the more pregnant with regard to a class that from the Modern Age had acquired a well-defined social profile. Within this comparative schema, the author highlights the anomaly of the Italian case, where the word «notables» has always had a negative meaning, in its current public use as well as in scientific discourse. Such anomaly explains the marginalization of this issue in Italian historiography. In the last years, only after a major renewal of Italian political historiography, the category of «notables» has become an important analytical tool in the study of the processes of legitimization of power in the Liberal Age.


  • Notable
  • Political elites
  • Ruling classes
  • Liberalism
  • Italy


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