Italy's Margins explores how certain places and social groups in Italy have been defined as marginal or peripheral since unification. This marginalization involves not only concrete policies but also ways of perceiving people and places as outside society's centre. The author looks closely at how photography and writing have supported political and social exclusion and, conversely, how they have been enlisted to challenge it. Five cases are examined: the peripheries of Italy's major cities after unification; its East African colonies in the 1930s; the less developed areas of its south in the 1950s; its psychiatric hospitals before the reforms of the late 1970s; and its 'nomad camps' after 2000. Each chapter takes its lead from a symptomatic photograph and is followed by other pictures and extracts from written texts. These allow the reader to examine how social marginalization is discursively performed by cultural products.
David Forgacs teaches in the Department of Italian Studies at New York University, where he holds the Zerilli-Marim- Chair of Contemporary Italian Studies. Before that (1999-2011) he held the Panizzi Chair of Italian at University College London and he formerly taught at the Universities of Cambridge and Sussex. He is author of Italian Culture in the Industrial Era, 1880-1980 (1990), Mass Culture and Italian Society from Fascism to the Cold War (with Stephen Gundle, 2007) and editor of Rethinking Italian Fascism (1986), The Antonio Gramsci Reader (1998, 2000) and Italian Cultural Studies (with Robert Lumley, 1996).