PostFeminism? The Culture and Politics of Gender in the Age of Berlusconi

International Symposium
7th – 8th – 9th – June – 2012 – Bologna
Interview to Nicoletta Marini-Maio and Ellen Nerenberg
The recent events concerning gendered identities and the way they intersect with politics and society under the cultural hegemony of Berlusconi’s Italy (e.g., underage prostitution, the highly sexualized parties – “bunga bunga” – the premier hosts at his villas, the appointment to political office of some of the women appearing on the prime minister’s television network) give rise to a series of questions about the state of gender and postfeminism in Italian culture. The Berlusconi of our title indexes historical and cultural parameters, political cachet, and socio-economic contexts and not an actual individual. In the context of Italy’s Second Republic (1994 to the present), our subject is the shift in cultural paradigms rooted in the ‘Age of Berlusconi’, a concept that we believe maps political, social and economic coordinates beginning toward the end of the 1980s.  By gendered identities we mean constructions of femininity and masculinity as well as configurations of sexual orientation and critiques of hetero-normativity. We understand postfeminism to interrogate the historical and political contexts of feminism and sexual difference as conditioned by postcolonialism, postmodernism, and the commodification of culture and politics in their effects on daily life.

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