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A history of labour – to better understand ourselves

A book narrates a significant period in Italian history, from Unity to today

  

Corporate culture and labour culture – an all-comprehensive production culture. All things considered, entrepreneurship and labour always were, and continue to be, two sides of the same coin. The vision of a productive future and the ability to attain it, a search for wealth and productivity: goals that can be achieved through a level of commitment that cannot be merely attributed to single individuals. And more – enterprises as spaces for continuous (and often heated) dialogue and debate. All concepts that may engender a brand-new awareness about the nature of production, and history is always the best starting point to better understand the present. This is why reading the recently published Storia del lavoro nell’Italia contemporanea (History of labour in contemporary Italy), by Stefano Gallo (leading researcher at the National Research Council of Italy and professor of history of immigration) and Fabrizio Loreto (professor of history of labour), proves very valuable.

The book’s premise is simple and blends entrepreneurship and labour with the social evolution of Italy: if Italy is a republic founded on labour, it then becomes necessary to retrace the evolution of labour over more than 150 years of Italian history, including the pre-republican period, in order to fully comprehend the spirit of this country and its evolution.

The book describes the progressive contraction of the agricultural sector, industrialisation and then deindustrialisation processes, and the advent of an outsourced society: three stages considered as great economic eras in the history of the country. It provides an account where the different actors taking the stage at different times are given a “voice”: popular associationism, syndicalism and politics, the conflicts between companies and labour and industrial relationships, the development of labour rights and the welfare state, as well as the particularities of women’s labour.

Thus, over a little more than 400 very readable pages, readers are given an analytical account of labour during the first post-unification Italy up to the early decades of the 20th century and the Great War, and from fascist Italy to World War II, the difficulties that affected the post-war period and the financial boom, concluding with an in-depth exploration of the vicissitudes that marked the last 30 years of Italian history.

Gallo and Loreto’s narrative highlights the political, economic, social and cultural history of a country whose development was uneasy and erratic, amidst rural areas and factories, worksites and offices, commerce and transport, large Fordist companies and small and medium enterprises, public and private labour. A compelling book to be read and re-read.

Storia del lavoro nell’Italia contemporanea (History of labour in contemporary Italy)

Stefano Gallo, Fabrizio Loreto

Il Mulino, 2023

A book narrates a significant period in Italian history, from Unity to today

  

Corporate culture and labour culture – an all-comprehensive production culture. All things considered, entrepreneurship and labour always were, and continue to be, two sides of the same coin. The vision of a productive future and the ability to attain it, a search for wealth and productivity: goals that can be achieved through a level of commitment that cannot be merely attributed to single individuals. And more – enterprises as spaces for continuous (and often heated) dialogue and debate. All concepts that may engender a brand-new awareness about the nature of production, and history is always the best starting point to better understand the present. This is why reading the recently published Storia del lavoro nell’Italia contemporanea (History of labour in contemporary Italy), by Stefano Gallo (leading researcher at the National Research Council of Italy and professor of history of immigration) and Fabrizio Loreto (professor of history of labour), proves very valuable.

The book’s premise is simple and blends entrepreneurship and labour with the social evolution of Italy: if Italy is a republic founded on labour, it then becomes necessary to retrace the evolution of labour over more than 150 years of Italian history, including the pre-republican period, in order to fully comprehend the spirit of this country and its evolution.

The book describes the progressive contraction of the agricultural sector, industrialisation and then deindustrialisation processes, and the advent of an outsourced society: three stages considered as great economic eras in the history of the country. It provides an account where the different actors taking the stage at different times are given a “voice”: popular associationism, syndicalism and politics, the conflicts between companies and labour and industrial relationships, the development of labour rights and the welfare state, as well as the particularities of women’s labour.

Thus, over a little more than 400 very readable pages, readers are given an analytical account of labour during the first post-unification Italy up to the early decades of the 20th century and the Great War, and from fascist Italy to World War II, the difficulties that affected the post-war period and the financial boom, concluding with an in-depth exploration of the vicissitudes that marked the last 30 years of Italian history.

Gallo and Loreto’s narrative highlights the political, economic, social and cultural history of a country whose development was uneasy and erratic, amidst rural areas and factories, worksites and offices, commerce and transport, large Fordist companies and small and medium enterprises, public and private labour. A compelling book to be read and re-read.

Storia del lavoro nell’Italia contemporanea (History of labour in contemporary Italy)

Stefano Gallo, Fabrizio Loreto

Il Mulino, 2023