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Luiss Guido Carli

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Luiss Open: Tell me how you protect your cultural heritage and I'll tell you who you are

Professor Mark Thatcher's reflections on politics and culture in Italy and France

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Political and cultural nationalism are often treated as separate. Recent studies, however, such as those by Professor Mark Thatcher, Professor of Political Science at Luiss and at the London School of Economics, argue that the two forms of nationalism are connected because, in France and Italy, "national and political leaders have introduced extensive protection of historic buildings when faced with major challenges such as war, regime change or pressures from localism or supporters of cultural nationalism as part of wider strategies to build and reinforce the nation state."

In his working paper, entitled State Production of Cultural Nationalism: Political Leaders and Preservation Policies for Historic Buildings in France and Italy, Professor Thatcher concentrates primarily on a comparative study of the two states.

In the first country, notes the professor, the 1789 revolution saw the destruction of buildings and monuments linked to the Ancien Régime. At the same time, a countermovement began, "opposing 'vandalism' and calling for 'national objects' which were 'the property of all' to be safeguarded."

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