Anna Maria Rao

Transitions. Hobsbawm in the Italian historiography on Early Modern and Modern History

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This article analyses the role played by Eric Hobsbawm in the Italian historiography on early modern and modern history. Despite his personal relationships and ideological commitments, the impact of his studies was far from being limited to Marxist historians. His contributions on the debates over the seventeenth-century crisis and the transition from feudalism to capitalism - whether totally accepted or criticized - were fundamental to understand and interpret the Italian way of economic and political development, from "Rinascimento" to "Risorgimento". His model of social banditry, even if mostly criticized and considered excessively generalizing, remained crucial in all Italian studies on this topic, and helped stimulate them. His lessons on social history, the history of society, and subaltern studies were as important as the French "Annales school" was for Italian studies on social conflict and popular movements, as well as for the Italian "microstoria".

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