Displaced children, silence, and the violence of humanitarianism in Cold War Italy
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In early 1950s Calabria, South Italy, thousands of children were displaced as a consequence of severe flooding. Under the banner of humanitarianism, children were relocated by the political left and center-right to live with communist families in the north of Italy or to reside in summer camps and Church institutions. For the left, the humanitarian initiative was framed in terms of solidarity and a vision of the future based on close-knit family and party ties. For the centre-right, the humanitarian effort demonstrated “the caring state” and Catholic charity in action. Today, the events of the 1950s are shrouded in an interwoven veil of structural and embodied silence. From national historiography, through societal absence, to personal struggles with the traumatic past, the displaced children inhabit silence as a space in the world. This silence must be analyzed within the context of Cold War politics, the sedimenting of post-war collective consciousness, and the race between the left and center-right to claim the future generation of Italian citizens.
Pipyrou , S 2021 , ' Displaced children, silence, and the violence of humanitarianism in Cold War Italy ' , Anthropological Quarterly , vol. 93 , no. 3 (Summer 2020) , pp. 429-459 . https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2020.0051
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