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In the Name of Italy:Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

Maura Hametz Associate Professor of History Old Dominion University

Publication Year: 2012

What was the nature of justice in Italian Fascist society? Through the lens of the case of Luigia Paulovich, a legal appeal filed against the Prefect of Trieste in 1931, In the Name of Italy: Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court demonstrates the inconsistencies of the Fascist attack on traditional political liberties and the incomplete nature of Fascist legal reform. A compelling narrative of an elderly widow's successful challenge to the "italianization" of her surname, the book reveals institutional uncertainty, signs of underlying discontent, and legal opposition to Fascistization in the first decade of Mussolini's rule. It explores the world of Fascist justice in the halls of the Italian Administrative Court, highlighting the interplay of Italian law and the judiciary in the interpretation of Fascist expectations and the enforcement of Fascist policies against the backdrop of inherited cultural, political, and gendered beliefs. Fascist aims to create a "new" society clashed with conservative notions of family, church, and patriotism to affect the perception and practice of justice. Competing visions of nationalism from Italy's Adriatic borderlands, Dalmatia, and Rome show how the persistence of regional cultural and legal particularities impeded Fascist efforts to promote national standardization and enforce government centralization. Focusing on the proceedings of the case revealed in local documents and national court records, the account of the woman who pit Fascist officials against the national government engages legal scholars, historians, onomasticians, and theorists of Fascism, nationalism, and borderlands in debates over the nature of citizenship and the meanings of nationalism, patriotism, and justice. It explores Fascist legal reform and sheds light on the nature of Fascist authority, demonstrating the fragmentation of power, the constraints of dictatorship, and the limits of popular quiescence. The widow's triumph indicates that while Fascist dictatorship appeared in many guises, dissent adopted many masks.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. v

Abbreviations and Name Correspondences

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Over the course of more than a decade since my discovery of Luigia Paulovich’s brush with the fascist court, I have incurred innumerable debts in bringing her story and this book to light. A summer research fellowship in 2006 and sabbatical...

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pp. 1-18

“By decree of the Prefect of Trieste, issued this 26th day of June 1930, the widow Paulovich’s name is restored to the Italian form Paoli.” 1 Asserting her right to maintain her husband’s family name, Luigia Barbarovich Paulovich rejected the Italian...

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1. Inculcating Italianità

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pp. 19-49

Luigia Barbarovich Paulovich’s road to Rome began with the passage of Royal Legislative Decree (RDL) no. 17 on January 10, 1926. Article 1 of the fascist surname measure designed to redeem ethnic Italians called on authorities in Trent to restore...

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2. Power and Justice

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pp. 50-71

Although it was not her intent, Luigia Barbarovich Paulovich tested the bounds of fascist success in molding new citizens and inculcating italianità in the borderland. In 1931, while the Paulovich case was winding its way through...

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3. Legislating Italianità

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pp. 72-96

In Trieste, the winter of 1929 was exceptionally harsh. The month of February was bitterly cold, with the average temperature below freezing.1 The bora, the famed east wind originating in the interior plains, swept through the city at record...

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4. The Family in Question

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pp. 97-117

Luigia Paulovich insisted that it was her duty as a widow to maintain her married surname in the form used by her husband to honor his memory and his family. This type of forbearance and spirit of sacrifice, even in the face of opposition...

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5. A Citizen Seeking Justice

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pp. 118-141

On April 6, 1931, three months after the prefect of Trieste issued the revised surname restoration decree, Luigia Paulovich filed her petition for its annulment.1 Her protest against the name restoration pertaining to her and her daughter...

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6. A Fascist Woman?

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pp. 142-170

“Justice,” wrote Gina Lombroso, “is not the triumph of equality, liberty and absolute reciprocity, but the triumph of equality before the standard agreed on, the freedom to attain a certain goal and relative reciprocity.” 1 Daughter of the famed...

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7. A Matter of Law

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pp. 171-193

Italian jurist Piero Calamandrei insisted, “He who seeks justice must believe in justice, who like all divinities, shows her face only to the faithful.” 1 Luigia Paulovich’s faith in Italian justice was rewarded. She prevailed in her bid to...

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pp. 204-209

“To capture the truth of Trieste, one is tempted to speak only the names, all of the names of the people buried here in Sant’Anna. I don’t do it because I don’t have the courage. . . . ,” 1 wrote Mauro Covacich in his 2006 collection...


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pp. 211-251


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pp. 253-269


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pp. 271-278

E-ISBN-13: 9780823246304
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823243396
Print-ISBN-10: 0823243397

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 821708087
MUSE Marc Record: Download for In the Name of Italy:Nation, Family, and Patriotism in a Fascist Court

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Barbarovich Paulovich, Luigia.
  • Trials -- Italy -- Trieste.
  • Italianization.
  • Administrative courts -- Italy.
  • Law -- Political aspects -- Italy.
  • Fascism -- Italy.
  • Italy -- Politics and government -- 1922-1945.
  • National characteristics, Italian.
  • Trieste (Italy) -- History -- 1918-.
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