Roberto Parisini

Regulating Commerce: Consumption and Urban Identity in Bologna during the Boom Years

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Identity; Commercial Revolution; Consumerism; Left; Local Government; Urban Planning.

This essay analyzes the problematic relationship between the Left - and its political identity, the commercial revolution and the progressive growth of mass consumption during the Italian economic miracle. Taking into consideration the city of Bologna, the most important city run by the Italian communist party, the author problematizes the socio-economic and political- institutional processes connected with the emergence of "American-like" commercial and distribution strategies, and of "consumerist" and urban identities. Bologna's administrators governed commerce and consumerism through a rationalization supported by urban planning, including the establishment of a chain of "associated supermarkets" built on municipal areas and financed by a mixed-capital company set up for that purpose. At the same time they sought to protect small retailers to gain their political consensus and to contain crisis-related anxieties among the consumers, a category which has still an uncertain identity in Italy. They were able to build such an urban and consumerist identity compatible with the ideas of the left.

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