By Alessia Ricciardi
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Additional info for After la dolce vita : a cultural prehistory of Berlusconi's Italy
In the economy of such a culture, Berlusconi represents a new personification of the Machiavellian prince: a media tycoon and self-made politico who has established by corporate means the sort of national cultural hegemony that Gramsci hoped would one day belong to the political left. Gramsci, of course, contended in his Prison Notebooks that Italy lacked a national-popular culture, meaning by this term the sort of intellectual and artistic works that might renovate the collective consciousness of society.
31 Negri finds particularly inspiring the ability of each of these thinkers to conjugate theory and praxis while placing emphasis on praxis. However, the constellation of cultural productions that I examine in After La Dolce Vita clearly has come to provide in recent decades the hegemonic image of Italian culture both for Italy and for other nations. 32 The plea for nonjudgmental forms of criticism in this context strikes me as a luxury Introduction that historical realities honestly do not permit.
12 For Gramsci, the national-popular need not imply a divide between low and high culture, since even Shakespeare exemplifies the category. For the society presided over by Berlusconi, television instead affirms only the crudest and most narrow-minded notion of the popular. The nation, which in Gramsci’s argument does not represent the metaphysical foundation of Sweetness a systematic nationalism but rather the social context of an open-ended search for collective ideals, in the current context designates the imagined community of an Italy based on the consensus of consumption.