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Title: The political role of La Scala during the Risorgimento: hegemony and subversion (1814-1848)
Authors: Bianchi, Raffaella
Keywords: La Scala
The Risorgimento
Gramsci
Opera
Hegemony
Nationalism
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: © Raffaella Bianchi
Abstract: This research investigates the political role of the opera house La Scala between 1814 and 1848, and it shows the specific modalities in which operatic culture at La Scala was important in 19th century Milan for the process of Italian identity construction. Using cultural studies theories as a tool of analysis, the thesis focuses on La Scala as a cultural institution, showing how the space of the theatre was hierarchically organised, how performances were enjoyed, and how opera attendance and space were regulated and disciplined by the Habsburg rulers. Cultural policies and power structures are contextualised in the historical situation of Risorgimento Milan. The city is shown to be an important place for the birth of Risorgimento movement, and the role of La Scala as central cultural institution in 19th century Milan is highlighted. A cultural studies perspective is used to analyse different aspects of operatic culture as a way of life. Here this thesis brings together the reflections of Antonio Gramsci on the Risorgimento, on hegemony and on opera. I argue that although in the past opera houses have been used as instruments of consensus in the hegemonic strategies for the rulers, at the time under study operatic culture at La Scala fostered Italian patriotic values. Far from being instrumental to Habsburg cultural policies of display, the Habsburgs mainly used La Scala as an instrument of control and surveillance of their subjects. The importance of this research lies in its focus on a single cultural institution within a defined period of study, which allows an epistemological approach encompassing aesthetic, historical, cultural and political elements. It aims to contribute not only to the history of the Risorgimento and to the history of opera, but also to cultural history and cultural studies, developing the exploration of Gramsci's thought and the discourse of nation-building as a cultural construct.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. It is Closed access until 3rd June 2040. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/6603
Appears in Collections:Closed Access PhD Theses (PHIR)

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