Paper short abstract:
This presentation analyzes the disjunctures at play in the global regionalist culture of the Italian Nordest, arguing that the region’s simultaneous adoption of globalizing stratagems and localist politics are not contradictory practices but rather part of the same attempt to affirm the region’s modernity against a presumed national backwardness.
Paper long abstract:
In the 1980s northeastern Italy, a historically rural and poor region, witnessed the rise of a noteworthy number of small family-firms successfully targeting niche markets worldwide. Globalization favored these firms in multiple ways: while the opening of markets (EU) and the growing international demand for made-in-Italy goods ensured the success of the firms, local entrepreneurs perspicaciously produced and marketed cosmopolitan trends for the global market. During the process of assembling cosmopolitanism for global consumption, the region became the site of some of the most conservative regionalist and localist rhetorics.
Based onon fieldwork conducted in the Veneto region of the Italian North East, this paper examines the ways in which local entrepreneurs strategically deploy postmodernity to achieve a cosmopolitan edge that positions them in a modern global order and questions the tension between this pursuit of cosmopolitanism and localist politics. Considering how Italy's obsession with "backwardness" plays out both at a national and regional level, I relate the country's efforts to integrate into an imaginary geography that classifies nations according to their modernity to Veneto's globalist aspirations. Finally, I ask what kinds of exclusionary practices and new marginalities this competition for "modernity" produces.
Marginality, nationalism and citizenship