Anarchist theories and practices in Milan: a history of the Milanese anarchist movement, 1870-1926

Fausto Butta

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Despite the vast research on Italian anarchism conducted over the last 40 years, little is known about the history of Milanese anarchists. Knowledge of the extent and nature of the Milanese anarchist movement is overshadowed by stereotypes while a few existing studies have a limited focus. The overall picture that emerges from the literature depicts Milanese anarchists as ‘aristocratic’ and ‘schizophrenic’, as ‘mob agitators’. This study seriously examines the history of the Milanese anarchist movement from its origins in the late 1860s up to 1926, the year when the fascist regime promulgated its special laws on the press and effectively silenced Milanese anarchists. This research is based on both primary and secondary sources. Anarchist publications are primary sources of insight into Milanese anarchists’ theories and ideological and political debates. Analysis of police reports and individual files has been integrated with this reading to describe initiatives and campaigns in which Milanese anarchists participated. Literature on Italian anarchism and on the history of post-Risorgimento Italy has been used to place the subject of this research within a clearer historical framework. An analytical approach has favoured the examination of raw data allowing a study of the Milanese anarchist movement’s social composition. A narrative model, on the other hand, proved to be apt for the description of political campaigns, main events and short biographies. Combining these two approaches, this study aims at to present a comprehensive picture of the Milanese anarchist movement. In doing so, this work proposes interpretations of the directions taken by Milanese anarchists.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011


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